ATTITUDES OF FARMERS, TRADERS AND URBAN CONSUMERS CONCERNING CONSUMPTION OF TRADITIONAL AFRICAN VEGETABLES IN TANZANIA
Keywords:Attitudes, diet, nutrition, health, taste, perception, traditional African vegetables
Traditional African Vegetables (TAVs) form a significant source of food and nutritional security in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. Consumption of TAVs in the region also plays a major role in providing dietary fiber and other important components in the prevention of chronic and lifestyle diseases. However, the consumption of vegetables per individual is still below the recommended level by WHO and FAO. This study determined the attitudes concerning consumption of TAVs in Tanzania. Descriptive statistics and principal components analysis were used to analyze data. Data was collected from randomly selected 63 farmers, purposively selected 65 traders and 262 consumers in Manyire, Embaseny and Bangata markets in Arumeru District, Tanzania. The results showed that of the eleven attitude statements presented to respondents, five scored over 90% and two over 80% on the positive end of the Likert Scale. Three of the remaining four statements scored over 80% and one over 50% on the negative end of the Likert Scale. These four statements carried negative attitudes and also received negative responses; essentially making them positive attitude statements. It was therefore concluded that farmers, traders and consumers have a positive attitude concerning consumption of TAVs. Factor analysis results showed that health, perception and taste factors were the prime movers of attitudes concerning TAVs consumption among farmers, traders and urban consumers. The health factor was the main prime mover for farmers and traders, and the second one for urban consumers. As consumption of TAVs moves away from the farm to urban markets, the importance of the taste factor shifts from the third position for farmers to the first position for urban consumers. Hence taste was the main driver of attitudes for TAVs consumption in urban areas. However, the importance of the perception factor diminishes from the second position for farmers to the fourth position for traders and consumers. It was therefore concluded that there is need to increase knowledge of health benefits for these crops to a larger population across the board. It is also important to train farmers, traders and consumers on innovative ways of mixing various TAVs varieties during preparation, and cooking techniques to enhance taste.