Traditional African Vegetables Agrobiodiversity: Livelihood Utilization and Conservation in Tanzania Rural Communities

Abstract

The agricultural sector is challenged to fulfill the nutritional requirements of ever-increasing population. Rates of growth in crop productivity have declined, among many reasons is due to climate change and the decline of water and land resources. Dependence by 50% on few cereal crops like wheat, maize and rice for total food intake and calorie requirements has countersigned loss of biodiversity and decline in crop productivity. The genetic diversity of traditional crop varieties offers resilience to environmental risks, socioeconomic shocks, adaptation and mitigation to climate change which is crucial for crop production. Traditional African Vegetables (TAVs) are an integral constituent of the diets of many rural and urban communities. They are important sources of essential macro and micro-nutrients. In addition, they offer a source of livelihood when marketed, and also contribute to crop biodiversity. Tanzania needs to conserve the Traditional African vegetables and their genetic resources against stressful conditions and increased selection pressures which causes loss of genetic variation and a decrease in fitness by a process called genetic erosion. Conservation and use alleviate genetic drift and inbreeding depression, then, is critical to guarantee TAVs persistence in rural areas. This review explores agrobiodiversity of traditional African vegetables (TAV) from livelihood of Tanzanian rural communities’ perspectives and how the country has managed to conserve these species

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