Value chain assessment of two indigenous leafy vegetables (Amaranthus And Corchorus Spp.) in Kumasi Metropolis

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Indigenous leafy vegetables are known to provide essential minerals and vitamins for consumers. Their consumption is on the ascendency especially in urban communities where they are produced under urban horticulture systems. For sustained production, appropriate handling and quality has to be assured. It is also important that assessment of profitability and wealth distribution along the value chain is documented. Unfortunately, there is insufficient information on indigenous vegetables grown in urban communities in Kumasi. A survey was conducted to assess the value chain and official standards were used to address the nutritional composition The study showed that most (88%) indigenous vegetable producers cultivated indigenous leafy vegetables such as Corchorus spp. commonly called “Ayoyo” and Amaranthus spp. also known as “Aleefu”. Producers had an average of 1- 4 acres of land and used farmer saved seeds for production. River water was the main source of water for irrigation and harvesting was done late in the evening to meet dawn market. Precooling by sprinkling of water, sorting, grading and packaging were postharvest activities observed by both producers and traders. Amaranthus and Corchorus spp. were sold between GH ₵0.50p to GH ₵ 2.00 per bunch and between GH ₵10-100 per bed while traders sold their produce for GH ₵1.00 per bunch or GH ₵ 80-100 per sack. Challenges mostly faced by producers and traders were glut during the rainy season which led to faster deterioration of the leaves while consumers complained of scarcity during the dry season which caused an increase in prices of produce. Proximate analysis conducted on the Amaranthus and Corchorus spp. showed that the leaves were good sources of protein (33% and 33%), ash (22% and 16.8%), fibre (16.75% and 10.88%) and carbohydrate (33.75% and 46.91%) but less in fat (6.5% and 6.0%) respectively vi which was healthy for consumption. They were also found to be rich in minerals such as Magnesium (2.75% and 2.53%), Potassium (2.27% and 1.44%), Calcium (39.2% and 43.80%), Iron (163.52mg/kg and 164.96mg/kg) and Zinc (26.8mg/kg and 17.28mg/kg). A total production of 7759.44kg/acre and 14,896.44kg/acre for Amaranthus spp. and Corchorus spp. respectively are produced in Kumasi Metropolis and a producer also generated approximately GH₵2090.00 per acre (GH₵49.76 per day for an acre) as against the trader who makes approximately GH₵1530.00 per acre (GH₵510.00 profit per day) of produce bought. Generally, production of Amaranthus and Corchorus spp. is very lucrative and a major source of income especially for traders. Their consumption should be therefore be promoted as they are major source of minerals.
A thesis submitted to the School of Research and Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the Award of Master of Philosophy (Mphil. Postharvest Technology) degree. 2015