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Utilization of indigenous food plants in Uganda: A case study of south-western Uganda

E Musinguzi
JK Kikafunda
BT Kiremire


The purpose of the study was to document and establish the traditional processin methods of indigenous food plants in Rukungiri district. In order to establish the status and level of utilization and processing of indigenous food plants in southwestern Uganda, a baseline survey was carried out using a participatory method of data collection. Respondents in Rukungiri district cited a total of 94 plants that were used for food. Some of the food plants were classified as indigenous to the area, while others were classified as exotic. The food types generally fell into five broad categories, namely; vegetables, fruits, roots/tubers, pulses and cereals. Vegetables and fruits were the most commonly used food plants and the Amaranths species were found to be the most popular vegetables, whereas wild plums (Carissa edulis) and gooseberries (Physalis minima) were cited among the
preferred fruit species. In spite of the fact that indigenous/traditional food plants have always ensured food security at the household level, the process of collecting them from the wild, their production,consumption and domestication was found to be on the decline in this area. This decline can be attributed to limited available knowledge on their nutritional content and to the emphasis that is placed on commercial, high yielding exotic plants by both the agricultural extension officers and farmers. The majority of farmers are only interested in the cultivation of crops from which they can earn an income, and because no one has cultivated indigenous food plants with the intention of earning an income from them, the plants have not proved their worth. Although the methods of utilization, especially food preparation, varied from one household to another, boiling, steaming and frying were very common and cross-cutting almost all the households. The principal mode of food preservation cited by households, especially for seeds, was
sun drying.

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eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358