Scientific Research and Essays

  • Abbreviation: Sci. Res. Essays
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1992-2248
  • DOI: 10.5897/SRE
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2746

Review

Wild vegetables in Northern KwaZulu Natal, South Africa: Current status of production and research needs

F. B. Lewu1* and S. Mavengahama2
  1Department of Agriculture, University of Zululand, Kwa-Dlangezwa 3886, South Africa. 2Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, 7505, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 10 May 2010
  •  Published: 18 October 2010

Abstract

 

South Africa is endowed with wide varieties of biodiversity among which are wild vegetable species of remarkable nutritious qualities like macro and micronutrients, minerals and vitamins. However, there is still a high prevalence of malnutrition; especially micronutrients deficiencies, a phenomenon described as hidden hunger, among low or marginal income bracket of the population. The use of wild vegetables has variously been proposed as part of the major solutions to solving the problems of micronutrient malnutrition among these populations. Unfortunately, the utilisation of wild vegetables among South Africans is in the decline due to over reliance on exotic species. The Agricultural Research Council of South Africa and other stake holders have conducted studies on some aspects of these vegetables. However, there are still a lot of information gaps in certain aspects of these important indigenous resources especially in northern KwaZulu, which need some research attention. Critical among these are: Population genetics of the species in the wild, agronomic evaluation under different growing conditions and phyto-chemical evaluation of these important species in order to encourage the overall use of these important indigenous resources.

 

Key words: Agronomy, chemical analysis, micronutrient deficiencies, northern KZN, population genetics, utilisation of wild vegetables.