Pumpkin is one of the underutilized fruit vegetables in Uganda despite the fact that it has wide spectrum of both nutritional and medicinal values. A survey was carried out to document local knowledge of pumpkin production; performance and utilization systems to aid the selection of pumpkin varieties to be used for particular value addition avenues. It was observed that twelve varieties of pumpkin are commonly grown and they are mainly distinguished by their skin colour, texture of epicarp and shape. Pumpkin production levels on large scale, small scale and subsistence were at 27.8, 66.7 and 5.6% respectively. Farmers reported that ‘pumpkin seeds are usually sown directly into the main garden;’ thus, nursery beds are rarely used by the farmers. Farmers appreciate the crop’s nutritional and medicinal values, in addition to being a source of livelihood. Pumpkin fruit vegetable is multi-purpose in that all the parts of the plant can be consumed thus minimizing food wastage and also the plant can stay long on the shelf thus has the potential to act as a food security crop. From the survey, it was observed that mostly elderly people above 46 years were involved in pumpkin cultivation; youths were less involved and pumpkin cultivation is mainly practiced on a small scale. The youths need to be educated and encouraged to get involved in pumpkin cultivation since it can reduce poverty levels, food insecurity and malnutrition.
Key words: Agro-ecological zone, local knowledge, medicinal value, nutritional value, pumpkin, variety.
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