ECHO East Africa Notes EAN Issue # 9
Food from the Wild
ECHO’s missions is to reduce hunger and improve lives worldwide through partnerships that equip people with agricultural resources and skills. One of the ways ECHO addresses this is through the promotion of holistic farming methods and appropriate technologies. However, it would be imprudent to ignore the role that wild foods have in rural areas and their potential as important nutrient-rich supplements let alone their potential economic value.
This article supplements a rich array of resources already available on ECHOcommunity.org about wild foods. It challenges ECHO’s network members to utilize wild and traditional foods which are often richer in nutrients and easier to access when conceiving programs to impact poor households. We would like to raise the following lead questions, and to follow later with questions seeking readers’ feedback.
by Charles Bonaventure, Franklin Martin, and Sebastian Kuoko
Some reports shows that sweet potatoes are already the 6th or 7th most produced food crop in the world, surpassed only by wheat, rice, corn, potato, barley, and cassava. Among the reasons that sweet potato is a great crop is that it is relatively easy to grow, relatively free of pests and diseases, has relatively high productivity, and is always good food, principally starch, some protein and vitamin C, and, in orange varieties, rich in vitamin A. In addition, the young leaves, rich in protein and most vitamins, are also good food. Furthermore, the sweet potato is an excellent animal food. Its ability to produce in poor soils makes the sweet potato an especially good crop for poor tropical soils where fertilizer is not available.