The “Recipes for Success” project aims to improve the nutritional status of underprivileged groups in Benin, Kenya and Tanzania by raising awareness on the production of and the access to traditional fruit and vegetables.
The project was granted for one year but additional funding may be provided by the Hort CRSP following the application mid July to its call for proposals in the category "African indigenous vegetables". Crops For the Future (CFF) is the lead organization for this project and follows up the potential second phase to be coordinated by Massachusetts University, USA..
The central piece of this project is the establishment of “Health Clubs”. These are community-run resource centers, where farmers can receive information about healthy eating habits, learn about cookery and food processing and get advice on indigenous fruit and vegetable species. Here they can access information about production and market opportunities and purchase quality seed of priority species. These are traditional vegetable species, well adapted to the climatic conditions and rich in micronutrients. They are locally grown and consumed although more and more replaced by exotic species benefiting genetic improvement, marketing trends and globalization. Priority species have been identified in a participatory approach for promotion (Ocimum gratissimum, Cleome gynandra, Moringa oleifera, Talinum triangulare and Vernonia spp).
In Benin, the implementing NGO, APRETECTRA, has carried out a total of 55 awareness raising meetings in the first 6 months of the project, followed by the formation of 38 women groups into Health Clubs, reaching a total of 187 persons.
Training activities have been carried out in two locations during July and August 2010, in which 120 women participated. The focus of the training was on fruits and vegetables for health and on cooking with traditional fruit and vegetable recipes.
The following subjects were also covered during the training:
As a result of an information collection exercise during these training events, factsheets were produced covering improved nutrition, hygienic and health aspects.
Together with an envisaged baseline survey about effects of soil, climate, farming practices and nutrient content of indigenous fruit and vegetables, this information is expected to result in a continuous and much anticipated intensive dialogue between the rural communities and the project. Local support institutions, entrepreneurs and opinion leaders in the project locations are also strongly invited to become stakeholders of the project, with whom experiences and knowledge sharing can be strengthened in the future.
APRETECTRA has meanwhile established seed orchards and vegetable nurseries around the Health Clubs, which will not only produce seedlings but also will serve as demonstration plots for future trainings on improved production practices. Five thousand cuttings of Moringa and Vernonia have already been distributed amongst farmers for planting.
But not only project activities in Benin are in full swing, as well in Tanzania and in Kenya stakeholders’ meetings, group training and farmers’ field days are taking place for promoting and demonstrating the advantage of indigenous fruit and vegetable production and consumption. Cooking courses with traditional vegetable recipes as well as training on food processing were highly appreciated by all participants in Benin, Tanzania and Kenya. In Tanzania a specific target group - fruit vendors- has been included in the training under their request.
Feedback on the activities shows that the training on traditional recipes for fruits and vegetables has promoted an alert awareness on consumption of such crops as well as an increased interest in traditional foods in general. The exchange of information between women's groups was thus highly stimulated and created much enthusiasm amongst participating farmers.
GlobalHort has been very pleased to support this project. The participatory partnership approach addresses gender imbalances due to traditionally unequal access and control of resources and decision making. The project is succeeding in raising awareness of the value of indigenous crops in the targeted villages of Benin, Tanzania and Kenya. It is increasing farmers' knowledge of the production of and access to traditional fruit and vegetables like Moringa and Vernonia species. The Recipes for Success project intends to make an impact on fighting against malnutrition and nutrition-related health problems in these countries while providing an evidence of the efficiency that can be achieved when research, development and farmers partner altogether.
GlobalHort participated in the completion workshop of the project in April 2011 and will support the joint efforts of all partners towards a follow up of the project.
Recipes for Success: A Consolidated Report by National Institute of Agricultural Research in Benin. May 2011