African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6638

Full Length Research Paper

Potential role of traditional vegetables in household food security: A case study from Zimbabwe

Alfred Maroyi
Biodiversity Department, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga 0727, South Africa. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 30 May 2011
  •  Published: 12 November 2011



The aim of the present investigation was to study the utilization of wild and semi-domesticated traditional vegetables in Zimbabwe. The study employed oral interviews and detailed discussions with 118 participants drawn from 8 different provinces of Zimbabwe. Plant use was found to be an integral part of the way of life of Zimbabweans, living in both rural and urban areas. This research has identified 32 edible traditional vegetables. Some of the commonly used plants as traditional vegetables are: Cleome gynandra, Cucurbita maxima, Ipomoea batatas, Lagenaria siceraria and Vigna unguiculata. Of the documented plants, some are non-indigenous indicating the diversity and dynamic nature of the food resource base in Zimbabwe. Traditional vegetables are a significant contributor to the socio-economic and health well-being of Zimbabweans, being either used in their raw state or processed form. They are traded locally, contributing a recognizable source of income especially for women. Some weedy traditional vegetables are left to grow amongst the cultivated food crops, hinting at some form of domestication. This indicates the possibility of the continued use of traditional vegetables in Zimbabwe, thus contributing to their conservation.


Key words: Food security, livelihoods, traditional vegetables, Zimbabwe