Dr Kenedy Simango
The African Indigenous vegetables institute (AIVI) is cross cutting interdisciplinary academic institute at MUAST established to promote sustainable production, consumption and industrial utilisation of African indigenous vegetables (AIVs) for food and feed in Zimbabwe. The Institute work with MUAST Faculties and sister Directorates and partners on African indigenous vegetables related issues.
Indigenous vegetables include all plants that originate on the continent or have a long history of cultivation and domestication to African conditions and whose leaves, fruits or roots are used as vegetables. Traditional societies have always exploited edible wild plants referred to as African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) to provide an adequate level of nutrition. However, modern society had neglected the consumption of AIVs until recently when there has been an increase in their consumption from both rural and urban population. AIVs are regarded to be rich in nutrients (Calcium, Iron, and Vitamins A &C) and fibre.
Harvesting of AIVs has been primarily from the wild or grown at subsistence level. The need to utilize and embrace our cultural heritage and to meet the growing demand for AIVs (for health improvements) has led to the promotion of their cultivation. AIVI is at the forefront of promoting the production and consumption of AIVI in Zimbabwe as well as to influence the region as a whole.
Examples of AIVs focused on at AIVI include but not limited to spider plant (nyevhe/ulude), amaranth (mowa/imbuya), black jack (mutsine/ umhlavangubo), and cowpea (munyemba/dinawe).
To be the leading institute on research, innovation and commercialisation of AIVs and AIVs based technologies in Zimbabwe and the region.
1) To promote cutting-edge research in AIVs through research fellows, MSc & DPhil students.
2) To promote sustainable production of AIVs at communal and commercial scale.
3) To provide technical advice on production of AIVs to communal & commercial farmers.
4) To increase per capita consumption of AIVs through value addition & commercialization of AIVs
a) Plant Breeding and Seed Systems
The overall objective of this work package is to collect, characterise, develop, evaluate and release improved varieties of AIVs for commercial use in Zimbabwe.
The overall objective is to develop best agronomic practices for sustained production of leaf and seed yield and quality of selected AIVs in order to contribute to food (and feed) security and nutrition in rural, peri-urban and urban areas in Zimbabwe. Moreover, the work package is aimed at developing fertilizer recommendations for improved production of leaf and seed yield and quality of selected AIVs.
c) Crop protection
The overall objective of this work package is to identify weeds, insect pests and disease associated with indigenous vegetables and to develop environmentally friendly biological, chemical and cultural management options against them.
d) Value addition and processing
This work package is aimed at value addition and development of new and innovative AIVs based food and feed products in order to promote the industrialization and commercialization of AIVs and to increase their acceptance and consumption.
Research Fellow: Agronomy:
Ms J J Kodzwa
Research Fellow: Entomology:
Mr A. Sasa
Cell: +263 773 124 829