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African Leafy Vegetables for Improved Human Nutrition and Food System Resilience in Southern Africa: A Scoping Review

Isaac, Admire; Shayanowako, Tichafa; Morrissey, Oliver; Tanzi, Alberto; Muchuweti, Maud; Mendiondo, Guillermina M; Mayes, Sean; Modi, Albert T; Mabhaudhi, Tafadzwanashe; Durazzo, Alessandra


Admire Isaac

Tichafa Shayanowako

Alberto Tanzi

Maud Muchuweti

Associate Professor

Albert T Modi

Tafadzwanashe Mabhaudhi

Alessandra Durazzo


The economic potential of African leafy vegetables (ALVs) remains obscured by a poorly developed value chain. This scoping review assembled and examined scattered knowledge generated on ALVs across southern Africa, focusing on production, processing, marketing, and consumption. Two electronic databases (Scopus and Web of Science) were screened, and a total of 71 relevant studies were included and evaluated. The review provides a state of the art on knowledge related to utilisation of ALVs across the entire value chain. The findings show that functional properties are of prime importance in the production and consumption of ALVs. However, the lack of improved germplasm and a non-existent seed supply system are significant production bottlenecks. Pests and diseases affecting the productivity of ALVs remain mostly unexplored. Sun-drying and boiling were the most reported post-harvest processing methods, suggesting that traditional processing methods are still prominent. Many studies also confirmed the predominance of informal markets
in the trading of ALVs as they fail to penetrate formal markets because of poor product positioning and exclusion from produce demand and supply forecasts. The inception of cultivar development,
mechanised processing methods, and market linkages will enhance the profitability of ALVs in the region. This review enhances the gaining of insight into the state of different value chain components
will assist in upscaling production, value addition of products, and enhance marketing efficiency. There is a great opportunity for basic and applied research into ALVs.


Isaac, A., Shayanowako, T., Morrissey, O., Tanzi, A., Muchuweti, M., Mendiondo, G. M., …Durazzo, A. (2021). African Leafy Vegetables for Improved Human Nutrition and Food System Resilience in Southern Africa: A Scoping Review. Sustainability, 13(5), Article 2896.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 26, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 8, 2021
Publication Date Mar 1, 2021
Deposit Date Mar 8, 2021
Publicly Available Date Mar 12, 2021
Journal Sustainability
Print ISSN 2071-1050
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 5
Article Number 2896
Keywords Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment; Geography, Planning and Development; Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Public URL
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