The thick, succulent leaves of the Malabar spinach vine, Basella alba, are among ECHO’s favorite vegetables to grow during our hot, humid summer which mimics that of the tropical lowlands. Native to tropical lowland regions of Asia, this short-lived perennial vine tolerates high temperatures and heavy rainfall with few pest and disease problems. The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) reports that Malabar spinach grows well at up to 500 meters in elevation in the Philippines.
The KX2 ‘Ohana’ leucaena is an interspecific cross of Leucaena pallida K636 and Leucaena leucocephala K8 developed by the Hawaii Agriculture Research Centre (HARC) for resistance to the psyllid insect which has hurt leucaena production in many regions of the world.
Martin L. Price
Saving seed is a problem for farmers in hot, humid climates. It is even more of a problem for community, mission, or government seedbanks that must preserve seed for long time periods in remote locations without refrigeration. We believe the work of Dr. D. K. Pandey in India may be a breakthrough in reliable seed preservation in the rural tropics.
Some uses of water hyacinth - ruminant feed, handmade paper, nutrition . . . etc.
Scientists at the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) in Kenya have recently determined that the weedy shrub Tithonia diversifolia has potential as a green manure crop.
Martin L. Price
Lawrence Gilley in Mozambique wrote to us, wondering whether velvet bean leaves can be eaten by people. “Mozambicans regularly eat the leaves of cowpeas, cassava, sweet potato, amaranth and squash as well as various wild herbs. If velvet bean leaves…could be consumed and are palatable, it would be useful to know.”