Friday, July 12, 2024

WorldVeg, SNV reps visit Weliso to measure progress in vegetable production


By our staff reporter
Representatives from the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg) and Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) visit the implementation of Veggies 4 Planet and People project in Weliso, Oromia region.
The four year project which has been implemented in three parts of the country in Ethiopia through the likes of Weliso, Welmera and Egere starting from 2020, was supervised by the representatives to evaluate the improvements made in the safe production of vegetables.
Veggies 4 Planet and People (V4P&P) which is funded by the IKEA Foundation was set up to improve the income of youth and women through sustainable practices in the vegetable business. The project which received a backing of 6 million Euros over 5 years was established in Ethiopia and Kenya, through a program phase that focuses on helping the women and youth farmers by linking them around big cities such as Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Kisumu.
WorldVeg which has the overall coordination control of the program partnered with SNV to provide cutting-edge regenerative agricultural technologies in terms of integrated pest management, soil management, and water use. Over the phase of the program, these technologies have served to process and extend the shelf life of the vegetables.
In the partnership, SNV’s main task was to fill the gaps in the value chain of the vegetable business networks. In line with this, the project targeted 4000 youth and women in Ethiopia and Kenya with 1600 farmers in Ethiopia, organized into the project name “Vegetable Business Networks” which differ from the usual farmer groups as they consist of input suppliers, traders, processors, and retailers in a single network.
As is well known vegetable production can be a profitable and attractive option for rural people in Kenya and Ethiopia, as it does not require large amounts of land. Research from the WorldVeg has shown that farmers make higher profits from a small plot of 1000 square meters of vegetables than from a similar plot of maize.
Therefore, as seen through the program, this has presented an opportunity for youth and women, who often have limited access to land. Moreover, as reports show, the high unemployment rate among youth in Kenya and Ethiopia highlights the potential for income generation and employment through vegetable production and marketing. To support this, women and youth have been provided training in agricultural technologies, appropriate inputs, and business skills, through the V4P&P initiative.
The V4P&P as an initiative was designed to create income and jobs for women and youth in Kenya and Ethiopia through vegetable business development. The initiative responds to consumer concerns about food safety and residues of synthetic pesticides on vegetables for consumption in cities such as Nairobi, Kisumu and Addis Ababa. It promotes the use of safe alternatives, such as bio pesticides, through integrated pest management to prevent pests and treat diseases in vegetables.
As studies show, Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest consumption of vegetables and fruits compared to other regions in the world, and the consumption is far below the recommended level of 400 grams per day. Vegetables play a crucial role in addressing malnutrition in Africa.
Traditional African vegetables (TAVs) are known to be rich in vitamins and minerals and can address various types of micronutrient deficiencies. The demand for TAVs is increasing as middle-income consumers can afford to buy them and are becoming more aware of their health benefits, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic. TAVs can also be grown in ways that are safe for the planet and people. And it is to this end that the initiative was set up to improve environmental and human health through the safe production of vegetables.

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