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Linking smallholders to markets. Scoping study on developing value chains for conserving local biodiversity and improving diets

This pilot study aims to improve the sustainable production and consumption of nutrient-rich indigenous crops to diversify diets in Busia County, Western Kenya, by linking rural entrepreneurs to institutional markets.
Kenya has high levels of both under-nutrition and overweight and obesity. Local foods could make affordable the micronutrients Kenyans need for healthy and balanced diets, but Kenyans are increasingly eating unhealthily and many nutritious local species are underused or disappearing. Markets and value chains are poorly developed and consumers are unaware that local species are nutritious or think badly of traditional foods.
ACIAR is supporting research to revive interest in African Leafy Vegetables and to address demand and supply-side constraints linked to the marketing of these local crops. To promote local nutritious crops and link farmers to markets, this pilot study will develop markets for identified nutrient-rich indigenous species. The project is building the capacity of entrepreneurial farmer groups to sustainably produce and respond to market demands for African Leafy Vegetables from institutional markets (such as local schools, clinics etc.). At the same time, preliminary nutrition education interventions are being undertaken in schools and communities in Busia County to increase the appreciation and use of local nutritious biodiversity to improve dietary diversity.