Trends and constraints in the production and utilization of cowpea leaves in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya

Joshua Ombaka Owade, George Ooko Abong', Michael Wandayi Okoth, Agnes Wakesho Mwang'ombe
2020 Open Agriculture  
AbstractCowpea (Vigna unguiculata) leaves are nutritious indigenous vegetables that are produced and consumed among local communities in Kenya. However, seasonal production limits their utilization. The study investigated the changing trends in the consumption and utilization of cowpea leaves among cowpea producing households in arid and semi-arid land (ASAL) areas. A cross-sectional survey of randomly selected households producing and consuming cowpea leaves was carried out in Eastern and
more » ... al ASALs of Kenya to determine the trends and constraints in the production and utilization of the vegetable, thus evaluating its efficiency as a food security crop. The average household production in a season was found to be 3.03 ± 0.9 of 90 kg bags. Lesser severity of the constraints, poor soils, drought, lack of access to seeds and massive spoilage with an odds ratio of 0.4, 0.9, 2.0 and 2.3, respectively, significantly (p < 0.05) predicted the production quantities among households, R2 = 0.21. The study also found that the reliance on own production among households for sourcing the leaves in-season and off-season was 97.5% and 24.9%, respectively. The households consumed the leaves in boiled (87.5%), sundried (27.5%) or blanched (13.6%) forms. Households in the coastal ASALs significantly (p < 0.05) consumed more of dried forms (odds ratio: 3.3) but less of boiled ones (odds ratio: 0.1) than those in the Eastern parts. Households that had more members or a female deciding the food to be bought had significantly (p < 0.05) higher frequency of consumption of cowpea leaves. Marketing challenges, lack of access to inputs and inadequate postharvest technologies for preservation of the vegetables constrained the production and utilization of cowpea leaves. In order to promote the availability and utilization of cowpea leaves both in and out of season, accessibility of good quality seeds and postharvest management are necessary.
doi:10.1515/opag-2020-0038 fatcat:w6ir6ulf7zbjphj774hq2cvd7a