Indigenous vegetables helping save the planet

Indigenous vegetables.
Irene Mwikali harvests mukauw’u at Maikuu in Makueni County.
Photo credit: PIUS MAUNDU I NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Over and above the nutritional, medicinal and commercial values of indigenous vegetables, scientists place them at the centre of managing the adverse effects of climate change.
  • Many of the indigenous vegetables such as kunde are better adapted to drought and common pests and diseases compared to the exotic crops.

The onset of the rainy season sets off a frenzied mukauw'u harvesting spree lasting for three months at Maikuu, a sleepy village in Makueni County. Irene Mwikali is among the sworn enthusiasts of the popular indigenous vegetable in the region bordering Chyullu Hills National Park. Recently, she has witnessed a sharp decline in the consumption of the vegetable, thanks to the fencing off of the park where it grows in the wild, intense pressure from stereotypes and competition from exotic vegetables. 

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