Vegetables are important sources of micronutrients such as vitamin A, iron and other substances that are essential for good health, however, vegetable consumption in most developing countries is still low.
Dr. Dyno Keatinge, Director General of AVRDC – the World Vegetable Center, highlighted the importance of a diversified diet during his presentation "AVRDC is fostering a revolution in diets for health and gains for wealth" on the occasion of his visit to CAPSA, 4 October 2012. He suggested a policy shift to focus more on research and development for the production and marketing of vegetables in order to address the growing malnutrition problem in the region.
A number of limiting factors in sustaining and increasing vegetable productivity were elaborated during the presentation. Climate change, including flooding, drought and salinity of soils, as well as increased temperatures, has become a real challenge. A lack of quality seed is another critical constraint in many countries of this region. Post-harvest handling and marketing also need to be addressed to reduce the risk to farmers involved in vegetable production.
Governments should campaign for greater vegetable consumption through promotion of school and community gardens.
AVRDC has played a significant role in conducting research and promoting the development of vegetable crops. It has expanded with a growing network of regional offices in Asia and Africa. Over 5,000 varieties of indigenous vegetables are maintained at AVRDC. It holds the world’s largest public sector collection of vegetable germplasm.
Participants in the meeting included representatives from ministries and universities in Indonesia.