Improving Brassica rapa in South Africa
Making African leafy vegetables more nutritious and tolerant to drought
Lead researcher: Assistant Professor Guillermina Mendiondo
The South African government is promoting the consumption of local African leafy vegetables for improving diets, some of which are closely related to Brassica rapa species. Micronutrient deficiencies, also known as ‘hidden hunger’, affect people in South Africa and worldwide. However, farmers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa have identified that water availability is a huge problem; they need more nutritious plants that are more resistant to drought.
To tackle these problems, Dr Mendiondo is working with researchers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Zimbabwe and Crops for the Future UK to test new Brassica rapa varieties. They aim to maintain nutrition levels while simultaneously increasing the plants’ tolerance to stressors such as drought and salinity. More resilient but equally nutritious Brassica rapa varieties will help to tackle hidden hunger and balance diets in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly during times of drought and climate-induced hardship.
Funded by Research England