26 November 2012

Tanzania: Fight Weight Gain With Vegetables, Say Experts

Medics often advise people to consume food with fewer calories if they want to lose weight. Yet in Africa, vegetable consumers have for long been seen as inferior, or people who are not affluent.

This trend however is dying out. There has been a growing demand for vegetables in the recent years due to diseases that are associated with animal protein, says Mr. Hassan Mndiga, the Training and Outreach Coordinator at the World Vegetable Center.

The world vegetable center is providing opportunities to farmers in the country and especially in Arusha by promoting vegetable growing through research and breeding processing. Mndiga says the project of growing vegetables and research is really paying and farmers can improve their income as well as educating their children if fields are properly managed.

"There has been a growing demand for vegetables in hotels and at the family level people are shifting trends from animal to plant protein," notes Mndiga.

"There is very low consumption of vegetables in the country due to the lower vegetable production and yet urban people have a "vegetable versus cholera" notion which needs to be stopped" Mndiga says

According to Ms Rose Dusabeyezu, the Research Assistance in Seed Unit at the center, the organization also has a seed bank that reassures that seeds are kept with purity in order to maintain the quality.

Dusabeyezu says the center also makes sure that all the partner states in the region have access to vegetable seeds while at the same time distributing them to neighboring countries of Ghana, Zambia, Cameroon, Mali and Malawi.

Commenting on adoption of GMO's, Mndiga says that there are many pros and cons that need to be evaluated so no need to rush.

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