Kenyan scholar, professor Ruth Oniang’o, and Mali businesswoman, Maïmouna Sidibe Coulibaly, were recently awarded the African Food Prize (AFP) for their seed exchange project that gives rural farmers access to indigenous vegetables. The group exchanges traditional vegetable seeds, especially leafy greens such as black nightshade (lisutsa/managu), jute mallow (mrenda) or slender leaf (mitoo).
Access to these seeds, high in nutrients, have improved the nutrition of these communities. “Many farmers have ignored African indigenous leafy greens, yet they are nutrient-rich, and some of them have medicinal value that helps keep common diseases at bay,” says Oniang’o. “Eating traditional vegetables is an easy, cheaper and sure way of stopping diseases that include even cancer.”
The AFP, previously known as the Yara Prize, was established in 2005 by Yara International ASA in Norway to honour achievements in African agriculture and food production. The AFP is the most prestigious prize in African agricultural development. – Daily Nation