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Conservation and use of traditional vegetables in Uganda

Elizabeth Byanjeru Rubaihayo
NARO, Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute, Kampala, Uganda

Abstract

Uganda is endowed with agroclimatic conditions suitable for the cultivation of a wide range of African indigenous vegetables. However, few of these plants are domesticated, the majority being wild or volunteer plants. They are abundant in the rainy seasons but scarce during the dry season, except a few grown mainly for selling in trading centres and urban markets. Conservation is far from satisfactory. Most of the germplasm collected in 1943, 1969-74 and 1980-84 has been lost. Current efforts to collect and conserve traditional vegetables have been hampered by lack of funds. No collecting has been done since 1993. Documentation work was being done by the Agricultural Research Institute, but was stopped in 1993 when the taxonomist joined the Banana Research Programme. However, the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) is planning to revive conservation of traditional vegetables as a priority. The most important traditional vegetables in Uganda are Amaranthus spp., Phaseolus vulgaris, Phaseolus lunatus, Vigna unguiculata, Sesamum indicum, Manihot esculenta, Corchorus spp., Cucurbita spp. and Solarium aethiopicum. They contain protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and vitamins A, B and C in important quantities and are either curative or preventive of a number of diseases. The list of traditional vegetables used as folk medicine is long, and includes Bidens pilosa, Cassia obtusifolia, Celosia argentea, Commelina benghalensis, Corchorus spp., Guizontia abyssinica, Hibiscus spp., Lagenaria siceraria, Luffa cylindrica, S. indicum, Solanum indicum subsp. distichum, Tamarindus indica and Tribulus spp. Traditional vegetables are also used to obtain various other products. Efforts are being made to increase awareness of the importance of traditional vegetables among rural women, and to encourage the general population to cultivate and consume these species.

Introduction

Uganda has relatively good soils, a mild climate and a well-distributed rainfall in most areas. It is divided into 11 major agroclimatic zone districts (Table 1), each with its own traditional agricultural system, a particular mode of livelihood and distinct communities which have evolved their own food preferences and habits. In normal times, there is abundant food supply to meet human requirements. The staple foods are plantain (matooke), sorghum, millet, maize, cassava, sweet potatoes and yams, usually supplemented with a sauce made from a range of different species. These are Uganda's traditional vegetables, plant species which are either indigenous or which were introduced a long time ago and are now being cultivated; their leaves are used as a necessary accompaniment to the staple food. Different species grow in all the geographical regions of Uganda, but the level of their cultivation and consumption varies with the nature of local customs, beliefs, staple foods of the people in the region and soil/climatic conditions.

In Uganda, traditional vegetables have been credited as a major source of ascorbic acid and various micronutrients in the diet (Goode 1989). They add taste, increase palatability and complement the nutritional value of basic staple foods. According to the FAO Food Balance Sheet for Uganda, traditional food plants supply about 90% energy, 76% protein and 63% fat, and most of vitamins A and C, iron and dietary fibre.

Table 1. Agroclimatic zones and agricultural systems in Uganda (from Sserunjogi 1988).

Zone, District

Agricultural system

Mode of livelihood

1. Busoga, Bukedi

Banana, millet and cotton system with outliers of main coffee/banana system

Cultivation dominant

2. Bugisu, Sebei

Mountain system: arabica coffee/banana (wheat and maize in Sebei)

Cultivation dominant

3. Teso

Teso systems: finger millet, cotton and cattle-keeping (mixed agriculture)

Cultivation, stock-raising

4. Karamoja

Pastoral system: cattle-keeping; also sorghum

Cultivation, hunting and collecting

5. Lango, Acholi

Northern system: finger millet, cotton, tobacco, some mixed agriculture

Cultivation dominant

6. West Nile, Madi

West Nile system: basic agriculture like zone 5 but with predominance of cassava as staple food

Cultivation dominant

7. Bunyoro/Toro

Arabica and robusta coffee and banana

Cultivation dominant


a) Mountains

system, mountain system: heterogeneous



b) Plains

agriculture but basically banana, coffee, tea


8. Ankole

West mountain systems - pastoral East;



a) Pastoral

arable and robusta coffee, tea, banana,

a) Nomadic herding.


b) Cultivation

cattle

b) Cultivation/stock-raising

9. Kigezi

Mountain systems but with larger annual

Cultivation dominant


a) Kisoro

crop acreage than other mountain systems;



b) Kabale

sorghum is major staple; arabica coffee, tea


10. Lake Victoria, Crescent

Main robusta coffee and banana system: coffee, bananas, tea, cocoa, sugar

Cultivation dominant

11. Northern Buganda

Western extension of banana/millet/cotton system, but now largely taken up by big ranching projects

Cultivation, stock-raising, fishing

Source: An evaluation of the use of traditional Ugandan weaning foods, especially fermented foods, in the management of diarrhoea. UNICEF, Uganda.
Some of the traditional vegetables have been domesticated, while others are still growing and being harvested as wild or semi-wild plants. Domesticated vegetables are grown in small plots adjacent to human settlements, an age-old survival strategy. These vegetables demand minimal attention in their production. Under emergency situations, for example arising from civil disorder or natural calamity, the production of traditional vegetables is crucial for many families and communities since they come into production within a short time soon after the onset of rains. The leafy Amaranthus species, for example, can be harvested 3-4 weeks after planting (Rubaihayo 1994b). These vegetables make a substantial, though rarely appreciated, contribution to food security of the rural poor. As increasing numbers of resource-poor farmers (especially women) are being marginalized by ecological, social and demographic forces, the value of traditional vegetables should be emphasized and their cultivation for home consumption encouraged.

This paper gives an account of the use of traditional vegetables in Uganda based on the studies of Goode (1969, 1974, 1989), Kakitahi (1984), FAO (1988), Rubaihayo (1994a, 1994b) and others.

Conservation

The earliest detailed information on traditional vegetable germplasm collection and conservation in Uganda is by Purseglove (1943). The collection, however, has since been lost. The currently available information on collections and conservation of traditional vegetables is by Goode (1969, 1974, 1989), who made a collection of over 160 species of traditional vegetables from 11 agroclimatic districts of Uganda (Table 1). Some of the collection was planted at Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and Bukalasa Agricultural College. However, most of this collection has been lost.

Current investigations have so far documented 34 species of traditional vegetables (Table 2). Twenty-one species of these occur throughout Uganda (Goode 1974). Most of the samples were obtained from communities living in Buganda region, Kabarole, Jinja, Tororo, Mbale, Soroti, Hoima, Kabale, Masaka, Mbarara, Kasese and Bushenyi districts of Uganda. These represent a small fraction of the 160 species originally identified by Goode (1974) as being used as vegetables in Uganda. Efforts are being made to make a national collection, in the hope of recovering the remaining species (Rubaihayo 1994b). However, it is expected that a number of species will have disappeared from certain areas because of bush fires, drought and human pressure on their ecological niches. The disappearance of some vegetables in some areas may also be a consequence of the introduction of improved agricultural techniques, which treat many traditional vegetables as weeds. The introduction of exotic vegetables, preferred by farmers for urban markets, has not helped to conserve the traditional vegetables. The dependency of rural populations on volunteer plants during the rainy seasons and the lack of deliberate efforts to cultivate the vegetables in the dry season also may have contributed to the disappearance of some traditional vegetables whose seeds do not have long dormancy periods.

Efforts to conserve traditional vegetables at KARI since 1980 have not been systematic and as successful as Goode's (1969-74), mainly owing to lack of funds. The collection made in 1980-84 was lost in 1985 because of the civil war which devastated the Institute. The exercise was resumed in 1990 - but on a very small scale - using FAO funds from the 'Development of Horticultural Industry' project, which, however, did not emphasize traditional vegetables, an example of the low priority given to this sector at the policy/decision-making level. Collecting and conservation came to a standstill in 1993 with the phasing out of the FAO project. The National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) has yet to revive collecting and conservation of traditional vegetables. Current work includes collecting from the rural areas, characterization, evaluation and seed storage at room temperature at KARI. The collection is tested for germination at 6-month intervals to monitor seed viability.

Food value and uses of traditional vegetables

Recent surveys have revealed that vitamin and micronutrient disorders are prevalent in the country (Kawuma and Sserunjogi 1992). Given the economic situation of most people in Uganda, the predominant diet is a vegetarian one. Traditional vegetables have been identified as a critical nutritional resource (especially in children) by a study carried out at Mwanamugimu Nutrition Services, Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Biochemistry Department, Makerere University and the Department of Home Economics, Ministry of Agriculture (Kakitahi 1984). The study suggested that families should avoid packaged or tinned baby foods and instead make nutritious foods for young babies using locally available foods, including traditional vegetables.

Traditional vegetables have high contents of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, carotene and vitamins A, B and C (Table 3), complementing the nutritional value of basic staple foods. In addition, the following traditional vegetables supply small amounts of starch: Cassia obtusifolia, Corchorus spp., Hibiscus spp., Ipomoea spp., L. cylindrica, Manihot esculenta, Phaseolus spp., Sechium edule, Solanum spp., Tamarindus indica and Vigna unguiculata. Cucumis spp., Hibiscus spp. (trace), Ipomoea spp., L. cylindrica and T. indica supply some sugar. Some dietary fibre is supplied by Amaranthus spp., Basella alba and Bidens pilosa, while Celosia argentea, Cucumis spp., Cucurbita maxima, Guizotia abyssinica, Lagenaria siceraria, L. cylindrica, Sesamum indicum and T. indica supply oil. This oil is mainly unsaturated fatty acids, oleic and linoleic, except that of T. indica, which contains saturated fatty acids. Hibiscus spp. also contain oleic and linoleic fatty acids. Some amino acids are only found in Cajanus cajan, C. obtusifolia, Ipomoea eriocarpa, S. indicum, Solanum aethiopicum and Solanum nigrum. Oxalate is present in Commelina benghalensis and S. indicum, while ascorbic acid is found in C. maxima and oxalic acid in Portulaca oleracea and V. unguiculata. All these food values are essential to meet human requirements, including normal growth and protection from protein/calorie malnutrition.

Some parts of traditional vegetable species are used as staple foods, like the rhizomes of C. benghalensis, mature fruits of C. maxima and root tubers of Ipomoea spp., M. esculenta and S. edule. The list of traditional vegetables used as folk medicine is long (Table 3). For example, the leaves of B. pilosa are used to treat wounds and boils; the juice to treat various eye and ear problems; a decoction for rheumatism, stomach disorders and intestinal worms and the roots for malaria. Other important medicinal traditional vegetables include C. obtusifolia, Celosia argentea, C. benghalensis, Corchorus spp., G. abyssinica, Hibiscus spp., L. siceraria, L. cylindrica, S. indicum, S. indicum subsp. distichum, T. indica and Tribulus spp.

Traditional vegetables are also used to obtain various other products such as dyes, tobacco substitutes, coffee substitutes, ornamentals, ropes, mats, sacks, pipes, ladles, containers, industrial oils including drug carriers, sponge, livestock feeds and soil fertilizers (Table 3).

Consumption of traditional vegetables

In 1968 a Rural Food Consumption survey carried out in Ankole, Busoga, Masaka and West Nile, representing western, eastern, central and northern Uganda, respectively, showed that many traditional vegetables are consumed throughout Uganda, although they are prepared differently, depending on the preferences of local communities (Goode 1989). A survey by the Home Economics Department at Bukalasa Agricultural College indicated that average consumption of traditional vegetables was 160 g per head per day during the rainy season when green leafy vegetables are abundant (Goode 1989). However, a survey of consumption in urban areas, especially among the urban poor, indicated consumption of 12 g (Grant 1957), indicating that a large proportion of the population probably does not consume adequate amounts of vegetables.

The adequacy of the quantity of traditional vegetables consumed depends on the areas of production and the composition of the staple foods (Brock et al. 1979). The recommended average daily nutrient consumption requirements are shown in Tables 4 and 5 (FAO 1988). This shows that as infants and children grow and their weight increases, their requirements for calories, protein, folic acid and iodine increase, but that for vitamin A remains constant. Iron requirement is higher in infants (14 mg), decreases between 1 and 7 years (8-9 mg) and increases to 16 mg between 7 and 10 years. In general, boys require more calories than girls of the same weight and age. For adolescents and adults (Table 5), the trend of requirement for calories and protein increases with increased weight and age. But the vitamin A requirement remains constant for all groups, except lactating mothers, for whom it is higher. There is not much change in iron and iodine requirements. All average daily requirements are increased during pregnancy and lactation (except for vitamin A).

Table 2. A list of traditional vegetables recovered from different areas of Uganda.

Scientific name

Common English name (Part eaten)

Traditional names§

Amaranthus dubius

Amaranthus spinach (L)

Doodo (Lug/Bar/Ank/Kg/Tr/Yr); Eboga (Ts); Sokoo/Sokusaku (A&J); Bedegbele (Kk).

A. gracecizane

Amaranthus spinach (L)

Embooge (Lug); lmbog(k)a (Gis); Ekiliton (Ts); Onvuga (A&J); Enje (Md); Obuga (Ach); Obug (Lag); Nyabutongo (Ank).

A. hybridus

Amaranthus spinach (L)

Goyi/goi (A&J).

A. hybridus subsp. hybridus

Amaranthus spinach (L)

Goyi/goi (A&J); Omuriri (Ank).

A. hybridus subsp. incurvatus

Amaranthus spinach (L)

Ebbuga ezuungu (Lug); Namutonto (Gis).

A. lividus

Amaranthus spinach (L)

Ebbuga enjanamusayi (Lug); Chesicheyet (Seb); Liwoola (Gis); Omuriri (Ank, Kg).

A. spinosus

Amaranthus spinach (not commonly eaten, L)

Doodo ow'maggwa (Lug); Losigiria (Kmj); Obuga-okuta (Ach).

Basella alba

Vine spinach (YS, L)

Enderema (Lug, Ank. Yr, Kg, Tr); Inderema (Gis); Kurakura/Ndera (A&J).

Bidens pilosa

Black jack (L)

Sere (Lug, Bk); Anyengomon (A&J); Bilodra (Md/RI); Abulesega (Kk); Nyabarashana (Ank).

Cajanus cajan

Pigeon peas (S)

Lapena (Ach, Lag); Ekilimite (Ts); Apena (Lag): Enkuuku (Ank, Yr, Tr).

Capsicum annuum

Chillies (L, F)

Kamulali (Lug, Gis); Kamalra (A&J); Pirpiri (Kk).

C. frutescens

Chillies (L, F)

Kamulali (Lug); Rura (Ach); Eshenda (Ank).

Colocasia esculenta

Cocoyam (L)

Ttimba (Lug); Mattu midolodolo (Gis); Opela (A&J); Ebitekyere (Ank); Oburagoi (Kg).

Commelina benghalensis

Day flower (L)

Nnanda ennene (Lug); Orandi (Bk); Ekoropot (Ts); Lolo (Md); Androko (A&J).

Cucurbita maxima

Pumpkin (L, F)

Ensujju (Lug, Ts); Essunsa (Lug); Buziriziri/Kimisebebe (Gis); Kasogo (Kg); Imunyuru (Ts); Okondo (A&J); Ebishusha/Obututu (Ank, Kg); Kedi (Kk); Enjubi/Ejubi (Md); Kicwika/konokono (Ach); Emyongo (Tr, Yr).

Gynandropsis gynandra

African spider herb (L)

Ejjobyo (Lug); Isaga (Gis); Ekiau (Kmj); Ekaboi/Ecaboi (Rs); Ekeyo (A&J); Tegeri (Kk); Jirri (Md); Ekeyo (Lag); Eshoje (Ank).

Hibiscus cannabinus

Kenaf, Deccan Help

Lubeera (Lug); Etoke (Kmj); Ebirai (Ts); Nyarogena (Ach).

H. esculentus

Okra (F)

Bamia (Kk, Bar, Yr); Loka/Obori (Md); Otigo-Iwoka (Bar, Ach).

H. sabdariffa

- (L, S)

(E) malakwang (Kmj)/Ts/Bar); Kuluba (Kk); Ekiganga (Yr); Emalakwany (Ts); Malakwang (A&J); Kalabi (Md).

Ipomoea batatas

Sweet potatoes (L)

Pot-ecok (Lug).

I. eriocarpa

- (L)

Ecadokoko (Ts); Nyamaradundu (A&J); Ecejofo (Md); Padowiakuri (Ach); Acatolao/Acatominoula (Lag).

Luffa cylindricata

Loofah gourd (L)

Kyangwe (Lug); Ekyangwe (Yr, Tr).

Manihot esculenta

Cassava (L)

Mattu gamwogo (Gis). Chombe (A&J); Soutigbanda (Kk); Gbandabi (Md); Potmogo (Lag); Muhogo (Ank, Kg, Yr).

Phaseolus lunatus

Lima beans (S)

Ebigaaga (Lug); Korokoco (Kk); Onguk/Orusa (A&J); Ckuku (Lag); Abongband (Ach); Obuhindihindi (Ank)..

P. vulgaris

French beans (L, S, F)

Ebijanjaalo: L,S, Ebisobooza: L, Ebisobyo/Ebikanga: L, (Lug); Mattu wanyambi (Gis); Teiko/Ngaingai (Kk); Ebihimba (Ank, Tr, Yr).

Sechium edule

Cho-cho (L)

Ebisusuuti (Lug).

Sesamum indicum

Sim-sim (S)

Bukenyimu (Buk).

Solarium aethiopicum

Scarlet eggplant (L)

Nakati/Nakasuga (Lug).

S. gilo

Bitter berries (F)

Entula enganda (Lug); Jagi (Ach); Entura (Ank, Kg); Enjagi (Tr, Yr).

S. indicum subsp. distichum

Bitter berries (F)

Katunkuma (Lug); Uli (A&J); Namatala (Gis).

S. macrocarpon

Vergans (L)

Nakati nume y'akyalo (Lug).

S. nigrum (dark stem)

- (L)

Ensugga enzirugavu (Lug); Ocokocok (Lag.).

S. nigrum (green stem)

- (L)

Ensugga (Lug); Esufa (Gis); Enyoro (Kmj); Ociga (A&J); Lere (Kk); Ocugocuga (Ach); Ocuga (Lag); Esiiiga (Ank).

Vigna unguiculata

Cowpea (L,S)

Eggobe/Ekiyindiru/Mpindi (Lag); Likote (Gis); Eboo/lmere (Ts); Boo/Ngor (Ach); Amuli/Obo (A&J); Nyele (Kk); Omugobe (Ank, Tr, Yr); Bojo (Lug); Maruet "wild" (Kmj); Namuri "wild" (Kk); Laputu (Kk); Enkoole (Ank).

Common throughout Uganda (Goode 1974).

YS = Young shoot; F = Fruit; L = Leaf; S = Seed.

§ A & J = Alur & Jonam; Ach = Acholi; Ank = Runyankore; Bar = Baruhya; Bk = Bukedi; Buk = Bukedia; Gis = Bugisu; Kg = Rukiga; Kk = Kakwa; Kmj = Karamojong; Lag = Langi; Lug = Luganda; Md = Madi; Seb = Sebei; Tr = Rutooro; Ts = Teso; Yr = Runyoro.

Phaseolus vulgaris: L, S = Leaf and seed, L = Leaf.

In Uganda, traditional vegetables are measured out as a bundle or in mugs or spoons. Table 6 gives an indication of what is contained in a specific size of the serving tool. Judging by the FAO recommendation given in Tables 4 and 5, the majority of the Ugandan population does not receive enough of their nutritional requirements.

Some traditional vegetables, for example Hibiscus spp. (malakwang in West Nile), impart a mucilaginous consistency to the sauce, which is much liked among the communities using maize, millets and cassava as staple foods. Malakwang is a delicacy in Northern Uganda and is cooked mixed with simsim butter, and eaten with any staple food. Other species, such as S. nigrum (ensugga), Solarium gilo (entula), S. indicum subsp. distichum (katunkuma) and Gynandropsis gynandra (ejjobyo) impart a bitter flavour which is preferred for sauce to go with banana cake (matoke) in Buganda.

Table 3. Food value and uses of the most important traditional vegetables in Uganda.

Scientific name

Starch

Sugar

Fibre

Oil

Protein

Ca

Vitamins

Fe

P

K

Amino acids

Oxalate

Unsaturated fatty acids

Part used

Region

Folk medicine and other products

A

B

C

Oleic

Linoleic

N

E

C

W

Aloe saponari






T

+




T






Flo

+




Leaves for sisal yellow dye

Amaranthus dubius



+


+

+

+

+

+

+

T

+





L

+

+

+

+

Stomach complaints

Amaranthus graecizans



+


+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+





L

+

+

+

+


Amaranthus hybridus



+


+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+





L



+

+

Tobacco substitute, red dye

A. hybridus subsp. hybridus



+


+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+





L

+

+

+

+


A. hybridus subsp. incurvatus




















+


Anemia, red dye

Amaranthus lividus



+


+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+











Amaranthus spinosus



+


*

+

+

+

+

+

+

+





L



+



Asystasia gangetica

















L

+





Asystasia schimperi

















L

+





Basella alba



+


+

+


+

+

+

+






L,YS

+

+

+

+

Pregnanty comfort

Bidens pilosa



+


T

T

T


T


T







+

+

+

+

Leaves: wounds; boils; juice; eyes, ears; decoction: rheumatism, stomach disorders; intestimal worms; roots: malaria.

Cajanus cajan





+

+




+

+


+




S

+



+


Cassia obtusifolia

+




+

+

+



+

+


+




YS,L,S

+




Seed: coffee substitute, fermented drink, food, diabetes, opthalmia, conjunctivitis, urinary problems. Roots: skin diseases, snake bites, bilharzia. Bark: enema, gargles. Leaves: diuretic, purgative, fevers, jaundice, abdominal pains, intestinal worms, gonorrhea.

Cassia absus

















L,S

+





Celosia argentea




+

+

+




+

+




+

+

YS,L

+




Fibre:ropes; ornamental, cattle forages; flowers: antihelminthic, diarrhoea. Seeds: oil, blood diseases, mouth sores, eyes, chest complaints.

Coccinea grandis





+

+

+



+

+






YS,L,F

+




Skin diseases, bronchial catarrh, bronchitis.

Colocasia esculenta

















L

+

+

+

+


Commelina benghalensis






+

+







+



YS,L

+

+

+

+

Rhizomes: food. plant: leprosy, eyes, colds, earache.

Corchorus olitorius
C. trilocularis
C. olitorius var. incisifolius

+
+
+




+
+
+

+
+
+

+
+
+


+
+
+

+
+
+

+
+
+






YS,L
YS,L
YS,L

+
+
+

+
+
+



Fibre: mats, sacks. C. olitorius: tonic, toothache, chest, bladder, stomach, purgative, gonorrhoea, stimulant of milk-flow.

Cucumis figarei


+


+

+

T

+



T

T

+



+

+

F,S,L

+

+



Ash: fertilizer.

Cucumis melo


+


+

+

T

+



T

T

+





F,S,L

+

+



Ash: fertilizer.

Cucurbita maxima




+

+

+

+

T

T

+

+




+

+

F,L

+

+

+

+

Mature fruit: food.

Guizotia abyssinica




+

+



+


+





+

+

S

+

+



Hedges, forage, green manure. Seed oil: birth control, syphilis, coughs.

Gynandropsis gynandra

















L

+

+

+

+


Hibiscus cannabinus

+

T



+

+

+

+

+

+

+




+

+

YS,L,S

+

+

+

+

Hibiscus spp. make hedges, ropes, nets. Flowers: yellow dye; calyx: urine frequency, mild anticeptic, nerves and heart diseases, high blood pressure, calcified arteries.

Hibiscus sabdariffa

+

T



+

+

+

+

+

+

+




+

+

YS,L,S

+

+

+

+


Ipomoea eriocarpa

+

+



+

+

+



+



+


+

+

L

+

+

+

+

Enema.

Lagenaria siceraria




+


+

+

+

+

+

+




+

+

YS,L



+


Gourds, ladles, floats, pipes, musical intrument, house ornamentals.
Pulp: purgative, cause vomiting, skin cooling, increase urine, and its frequency, antibilious.
Fruit syrup: chest pain, pimples, rheumatism mixtures. Leaves: baldness. seeds: intestinal worms, reduce body fluids; oil: externally for headaches.

Luffa cylindrica

+

+


+

+

+

+


T

+

+




+

+

F,L



+


Mature fruit: bathing sponge, local doors, table mats. Young fruit: stimulating milk in mothers; stem sap: chest complaints. Fruit juice: increase urine, purgative, cause vomiting; seed oil: skin infections.

Manihot esculenta

+




+

+


+


+

+






L

+

+


+

Root tubers: staple food.

Phaseolus lunatus

+




+

+


+

+

+

+






F,S



+


Seed: fevers; roots: narcotic; whole plants: green manure.

Phaseolus trilobus

+




+

+


+

+

+

+






F,S,L






Phaseolus vulgaris

+




+

+


+

+

+

+






F,S,L






Portulaca oleracea







+

+

+

+

+






L

+


+


Pig food, soil green manure

Sechium edule

+




+

T


+


+

+






F





Mature tubers: food

Sesamum indicum




+

+

+




+

+


+

+

+

+

S

+

+


+

Used in paints, lubricants, drug carrier, livestock & poultry food, stem: fuel, manure; seed: stimulates lactation, mentral flow, treat coughs, aphrodisiac, burns (seed); kidney, and bladder infections, hair grow & kills hair lice.

Solanum aethiopicum





+

+

+

+


+

+


+




L

+

+

+

+


Solanum gilo

+




+

+

+


+


+






F

+

+

+

+


S. indicum subsp. distichum

+




T

+

+


+


+






F




+

Fruit: high blood pressure

Solanum nigrum





+

+

+

+


+

+


+




L

+

+

+

+

Wild & semi-wild

Tamarindus indica

+

+


+

+

+

+

+

T

+

+






Flo.L,S

+




Whole trees: fencing, ornamental, timber. Bark & wood ash: ink, Ripe fruits: cleane; starch & pectim used in industry; Pulp: hemorrhoids, diabetes, sore throat. Roots: respiratory illness, leprosy. Ash: digestive problems. Seed: dysentery, coughs, fevers & heart pains. Bark: asthma, sore throat, wounds, ulcers, boils. Leaves: bilharzia, hemorrhoids, snake-bites, antiseptic.

Tribulus cystoides





+

+



+

+

+






YS,L

+

+



Fruit: increase urine, tonic, aphrodisirac; Leaves: bladder stones, stomach cramps, tonic, laxative.

Tribulus longipetalus





+

+



+

+

+






YS.L

+

+




Tribulus terrestris





+

+



+

+

+






YS,L

+

+




Vigna unguiculata

+




+


+

+

+

+

+






S,L

+

+

+

+

Forage, green manure, mulch, a cover crop

Fe = iron; P = phosphorus; K = potassium; Ca = calcium; + = rich in, T = trace; N = Northern; E = Eastern;

C = Central; W = Western; S = Seed; L = Leaf; F = Fruits; Flo = Flower; YS = Young shoot.

Developed from FAO (1988); Goode (1989) and Rubaihayo (1994).

Table 4. Average daily energy, protein, vitamin A, folic acid, iron and iodine requirements for infants and children of either sex (unless otherwise specified), by age group.

Age

Median weight (kg)

Energy (kcal)

Protein (g)

Vitamin A (µg)

Folic acid (µg)

Iron (mg)

Iodine (mg)§

Infants (months)









3-6

7.0

700

13.0

350

25

14

40

6-9

8.5

810

14.0

350

31

14

50

9-12

9.5

950

14.0

350

34

14

50

Children (years)









1-2

11.0

1150

13.5

400

36

8

70

2.3

13.5

1350

15.5

400

46

9

70

3.5

16.5

1550

17.5

400

54

9

90

Boys/girls









5-7

20.5

1850/1750

21.0

400

68

9

90

7-10

27.0

2100/1800

27.0

400

89

16

120

Values derived from Energy and protein requirements: report of a joint FAO/WHO/UNU expert consultation. WHO Technical Report Series 724. Geneva, 1985.

Values derived from Requirements of vitamin A, iron, folate and vitamin B12: report of a joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation. (In press)

§ Values derived from Recommended Dietary allowances. Ninth rev. ed. U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Washington, DC, 1980.

Source: Traditional Food Plants. FAO 1988.

Table 5. Average daily energy, protein, vitamin A, folic acid, iron and iodine requirements for adolescents (by age group) and adults, by sex.

Age (years)

Median weight (kg)

Energy (kcal)

Protein (g)

Vitamin A(µg)

Folic acid (µg)

Iron (mg)

Iodine (mg)§

Males









 

10-12

34.5

2200

34.0

500

102

16

150

12-14

44.0

2400

43.0

600

170

24

150

14-16

55.5

2650

52.0

600

170

24

150

16-18

64.0

2850

56.0

600

200

15

150

>18

70.0

3050

52.5

600

200

15

150

Females









 

10-12

36.0

1950

36.0

500

102

16

150

12-14

46.5

2100

44.0

600

170

27

150

14-16

52.0

2150

46.0

600

170

27

150

16-18

54.0

2150

42.0

500

170

29

150

>18

55.0

2350

41.0

500

170

29

150

Pregnant








 

Full activity

+285

+6.0

600

370-470

47

+25

Reduced activity

+200

+6.0

600

370-470

47

+25

Lactating








 

First 6 months

+500

+17.5

850

270

17

+50

After 6 months

+500

+13.0

850

270

17

+50

Values derived from Energy and protein requirements: report of a joint FAO/WHO/UNU expert consultation. WHO Technical Report Series 724. Geneva, 1985.

Values derived from requirements of vitamin A, iron, folate and vitamin B12: report of a joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation. (In press)

§ Values derived from Recommended Dietary Allowances. Ninth rev. ed. U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Washington, DC, 1980:

Among pregnant women, dietary supplementation of iron is usually called for, because the iron requirement cannot be met through normal dietary intake.

+ In addition to the normal requirement.

Source: Traditional Food Plants (FAO 1988).

Table 6. An indication of the nutritional composition of some of the traditional vegetable products consumed in Uganda.

Vegetable

Serving size

Grams

Kilocals

Proteins

Vit. A

Ascorbic acid

Thiamine

Riboflavin

Niacin

Ca

Fe

Traditional

Legumes and seeds













 

Cajanus cajan

1 handful

90

3

6

-

-

7

2

2

2

4

Phaseolus spp.

1 handful

90

3

6

-

-

7

2

2

2

7

Pisum sativum

1 handful

90

3

7

-

-

11

2

2

2

4

Sesamum indicum

3 tablespoons

40

2

3

-

-

6

1

2

15

4

Vigna unguiculata

1 handful

90

3

7

-

-

13

1

2

2

4

Fruits and leaves













 

Amaranthus spp.

1 handful

125

-

1

10

83

2

4

2

9

5

Cucurbita spp.













 

Fruit

1/4 mug

115

-

-

11

12

1

1

1

1

1

Leaves

1 handful

125

-

2

3

48

3

3

2

5

7


2 medium sized

95

-









Manihot esculenta

1 handful

125

-

1

3

42

2

3

1

3

3

Exotic

Brassica oleracea

1/4 mug

60

-

-

-

16

1

-

-

1

-

Carrot

2 medium sized

135

-

1

11

5

1

1

1

2

1


% mug











Lettuce

1/2 mug

50

-

-

-

5

1

1

-

1

1

1 nutri-unit = 5% of the highest recommended dietary allowance except for kilocalories where 1 nutri-unit = 100 kilocalories.

Note: The food nutritional composition of exotic vegetables is much lower than that of traditional vegetables.

Source: The Nutri-guide System, Home Economics Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Uganda.

Cultural uses of traditional vegetables

Cultural uses of traditional vegetables are associated with widely held beliefs connected with visitors, weddings, childbirth and in-laws. The list is long as there are many ethnic, language and cultural groups (44) in Uganda. It is, however, interesting to note that certain plants appear to be important in more than one community. Vigna unguiculata (see Table 2 for traditional names) is used throughout Uganda but is associated with a different cultural use in each community. So are the Solarium species. In Buganda (Central Uganda), Acalypha bipartita (ejerengesa) is a taboo to be prepared for in-laws (Goode 1974).

References

Brock, B., J. MacCrae and A. Sharman. 1979. A Bibliography of Nutrition and Food Supply in Uganda. Rural Economy and Extension Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Makerere University College.

FAO. 1988. Traditional Food Plants. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 42. A resource book for promoting the exploitation and consumption of food plants in arid, semi-arid and subhuman lands of Eastern Africa. FAO, Rome, Italy.

Goode, P.M. 1969. Indigenous and Local Vegetables in Uganda. (Unpublished).

Goode, P.M. 1974. Some Local Vegetables and Fruits of Uganda. Republic of Uganda.

Goode, P.M. 1989. Edible plants of Uganda. The value of wild and cultivated plants as food. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 42/1. Rome.

Grant, M.W. 1957. Nutrition in Uganda. Applied Nutrition Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Mimeograph.

Kakitahi, J.T. 1984. Child Nutrition Guidelines. Produced by Mwanamugimu Nutrition Services, Ministry of Health and the Department of Home Economics, Ministry of Agriculture, Uganda.

Kawuma, M. and L. Sserunjogi. 1992. Kamuli Blindness and Vitamin A Deficiency Survey, October-December 1991. Ministry of Health Technical Report Series 1.

Purseglove, J.M. 1943. Some Uganda vegetables. East African Agric. J. 9(l):25-28; (2):98-100.

Rubaihayo, E.B. 1994a. Indigenous Vegetables of Uganda. Pp. 120-124 in African Crop Science Conference Proceedings, Vol. 1. African Crop Science Society.

Rubaihayo, E.B. 1994b. Conservation, production and utilization of indigenous (local) vegetables in Uganda. A paper presented at the Sub-Regional Workshop on "Improvement of Household and Subsistence Horticulture in Eastern and Southern Africa, Mukono, Uganda, 1-4 November 1994.


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