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Unleashing the power of vegetables and fruits in Southern Africa

Dubois T., Nordey T., Opara L.. 2020. In : Sikora Richard A. (ed.), Terry Eugene R. (ed.), Vlek Paul L.G. (ed.), Chitja Joyce (ed.). Transforming agriculture in Southern Africa. Abingdon : Routledge, p. 170-178. (Earthscan Food and Agriculture).

Staple-based diets in Southern Africa need to be diversified with vegetables and fruits to increase nutrition and income generation. The vegetable and fruit sectors face biotic constraints and lacks year-round water supply, which will be exacerbated by climate change. Rapid urbanization and the ensuing supermarket revolution pose another challenge to the sector, with consumption habits set to change drastically. Food safety is another grave concern, while only more intensive and profitable production systems may be able to target export markets. To overcome these constraints, innovations need to tackle technological, institutional and organizational change simultaneously, and this is especially true for the massive postharvest losses in vegetable and fruit chains. The seed sector equally needs to start using a value chain approach, ensuring strategic linkages of seed producers to key value chain actors. Suggested policy actions are increasing consumer demand, implementing quality standards through voluntary labels, improving market access through farmer aggregation, shifting agricultural research towards horticulture and focusing on traditional African vegetables instead of commoditized export crops.

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