What do Millets (Lebelebele), Fonio (acha or acca), Cowpeas, Quinoa, Amaranth (Bondwe), Marama Bean, and Cassava have in common? They are some of the many African foods which have been neglected, underutilized, and pushed into forgetfulness by the predominant crops.
What these neglected foods also have in common is their ability to adapt to a wide range of agro-climatic conditions while giving good performance even under marginal growing conditions.
The second international Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) conference kicked off Heritage Month last week by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane under the theme, "Protecting indigenous knowledge towards socio-economic development".
Hosted in partnership with the DST and the North-West University, Kubayi-Ngubane said one of the purposes of the conference was to undo the damage that was caused by the apartheid government which left out indigenous communities while discussing their heritage.
As the African proverb says, “you empower a woman, you empower a nation”. Taking this powerful thought forward, the 2nd season of the FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme aims to trigger the possibility of empowering a generation by empowering the women.
In order to develop products from indigenous resources and create new markets for them, it is important to empower women, farmers and relevant students with information which enables them to start thinking innovatively about food and food products. Business skills and scientific awareness as well as connections with food manufacturers can be of great help to these stakeholders.
Fruits can be considered one of the best sources of vitamins, and fruit production for and by communities has been encouraged by governments in several countries in the SADC region. However, inefficient practices in both harvesting and post-harvest processing lead to much of the produce being lost. Post-harvest losses of fruit have been estimated to account for up to 50% of total fruit produced in Sub-Saharan Africa. The reduction of these losses can be seen as a vital component of increasing food security.