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Research Article
Open Access Peer-reviewed

The Utilization of Traditional and Indigenous Foods and Seeds in Uganda

Charles L. Tumuhe , Kasfa Ategeka, Christopher Sunday, Dennis Tibaijuka, Crispus B. Muhindo
Journal of Food Security. 2020, 8(1), 11-21. DOI: 10.12691/jfs-8-1-2
Received December 29, 2019; Revised February 08, 2020; Accepted February 25, 2020

Abstract

There is an immutable need to preserve and utilize the genetic materials of indigenous crops and plants for nutrition and preservation of genetic diversity. The scientific community needs to support farmers in the preservation of indigenous foods and seed. African Rural University (ARU) participated in indigenous seed and food fairs to collect data while showcasing the preservation, preparation, value addition and consumption of local seeds and foods in Uganda. The purpose of the traditional seed and food fair events was to demonstrate both the existence and resilience of African culture in food and nutrition through participation of farmers and ARU students. There were three series of such fairs at local (10 groups), regional (49 groups) and national levels (30 groups). ARU research team and students participated in all the fairs as both exhibitors and researchers. Results indicate that exhibitors showcased traditional/indigenous foods both in raw and cooked forms. There is still a wide variety of beneficial indigenous and traditional foods in Uganda. It may be helpful to establish a complete traditional food data system for all ethnic groups in Uganda and prepare recipes for preparation of their traditional dishes, establish botanical gardens for conservation, earth markets and more regular food and seed fairs for farmers to interact and exchange the planting materials.

1. Introduction

The Government of Uganda through the Vision 2040 envisages to have all citizens attain middle income status by 2020 1. Uganda’s economy is, however, largely dependent on agriculture as its mainstay 2. The World Bank report of 2018 says that the agriculture sector remains critical to Uganda’s economy, in that it employs approximately 69% of the labour force, 77% of who are women, and 63% are youth, mostly residing in the rural areas. However, according to National Seed Policy document of Uganda, up to 85% of the seed which Ugandan farmers plant is through the informal seed sector 3. A seed is any propagative material, plants and parts of plants intended for propagation and multiplication of a variety. Indigenous and traditional foods and seeds are getting extinct from the ecosystems yet the Sub Saharan Africa is still faced with food and nutrition insecurity.

Uganda faces malnutrition i.e. under nutrition among the urban poor and over nutrition – obesity among the urban rich 4, 5. This is because African diets are gradually being replaced with more convenient and conventional food alternatives 4. The conventional foods include; fatty meats, highly sugary, salty and oily street and supermarket foods, and exotic vegetables and cereals 4. It has been noted in many studies that reduced dietary diversity has serious effects on the nutrition and health of rural and urban populations. Dietary diversification is widely accepted as a cost-effective and sustainable way of improving malnutrition. Neglected and underutilized food resources constitute the bedrock of the diversity in traditional and indigenous food systems of developing countries 6, 7, 8.

Consumption of indigenous foods changes as people move from villages to towns. Indigenous foods are consumed in fresh form 4 and these include; small grain cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, tropical fruits, legumes, starchy stem, wild yams, root tubers and a range of edible insects 4, 9. The consumption of indigenous foods is, however, constrained by the underdeveloped production and marketing systems, inadequate awareness of benefits, limited processing and cultural acceptance 10.

The indigenous/traditional plants are propagated by both sexual (seed) and asexual (vegetative) methods 11. Vegetative propagation methods include; use of cuttings, splits, rhizomes, suckers, crowns, slips, tubers, bulbs, vines, corms and runners 11, 12, 13, 14.

Traditional and indigenous foods were previously preferred in African diets for they are less deleterious to the environment and address cultural needs and preserve the cultural heritage of local communities. Indigenous people living in rural areas possess food resources that are usually not completely understood by the contemporary agriculture and health sectors. This means that the usual processes of nutrition assessment and identification of food-based strategies for micronutrient promotion cannot take these resources into full consideration for planning.

The indigenous food and seeds have traditionally been a significant contributor to food security, nutrition and incomes for smallholder farmers in many parts of Uganda and East Africa at large 15. They have an advantage over exotic crops. They are more resilient to harsh environmental conditions, highly medicinal and nutrient rich 4, 16, 17. They are food and sources of income coupled with many other socio-cultural benefits 10, 18, 19.

Owing to these benefits, a deliberate effort has to be taken by researchers, academics and conservationists to preserve and multiply these indigenous and traditional seed materials. There is an immutable need to preserve and utilize the genetic materials of indigenous crops and plants for nutrition and preservation of genetic diversity 20. This is because the indigenous seed of grain, fruits, herbs, bulbs and stems are currently disappearing at an alarming rate. The traditional seed bank is disappearing among many communities in Uganda. These have been substituted with hybrid and now genetically modified crop and animal materials that are readily available in farm shops. Several Ugandans can barely remember their indigenous and traditional food and seed varieties! Such is the decline of our indigenous and traditional food and seed systems that many can barely be traced within communities despite the numerous nutritional, medicinal, social and economic benefits they have. Nonetheless, there are communities which are still resilient; they have preserved the cultural and traditional practices amidst modernization 21, 22. If the research and scientific community of African academics does not act now, the local communities may lose the battle of sustainably preserving these indigenous plant materials thus impairing the nutrition and health of bona fide citizens.

There is thus need to consider the entire value chain of production and distribution of indigenous and traditional seeds of selected plants focusing on local landraces that are on the verge of extinction yet carry very important genes and nutrients. Domestication of endangered food and medicinal wild plants is very important, now that natural ecosystems (habitats e.g. forests, swamps, wetlands, mountains) are getting degraded by the increasing population and urbanization. Domestication of these plants is possible through the creation of regional arboretums, botanical gardens, and community seed banks in Uganda following the agro-ecological zones and practices.

Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme (URDT) and African Rural University (ARU) have thus embarked on a campaign to restore the utilization and conservation of indigenous and traditional foods among communities in Uganda. ARU was started by URDT and is one of Uganda’s newest universities and among the first non-denominational all-women rural universities in Africa. The University (ARU) was founded to institutionalize and deepen the home-grown methodology for human and rural development, based on the Visionary Approach and the principles of Systems Thinking 23. ARU puts its emphasis on practical learning of local interventions mainly through community engagement by students and their mentors. The mentors are University Academic Staff and Traditional Wisdom Specialists (TWS) – ‘auxiliary professors. ARU produces visionary leaders – Epicenter Managers who are recruited by URDT – the mother organization, to work in selected villages to catalyze community driven integrated development 24.

URDT and ARU participated in community/local, regional and national food and seed fairs, and the documentation of indigenous and traditional foods in Uganda. The main intention was to support the realization of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to profile the propagation, production (growing), conservation and utilization of indigenous and traditional foods in Uganda through local, regional and national food and seed fair events. The study results are expected to revamp the propagation, growing, utilization and conservation of the indigenous and traditional foods. The data collected will support initiatives to ensure that farmers in the community adapt to self-sustained agro-ecological systems to end hunger, reduce all forms of malnutrition, and protect agro-biodiversity in Uganda.

2. Methodology

The study was conducted through a participatory approach. Students and researchers at ARU participated in local/community, regional and national indigenous food and seed fair events (Figure 1 & Figure 2). The events were held in October 2019 at the University campus in Kagadi; Fort Portal Town in Kabarole district; and at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) conference Hall and Parking area, in Kampala city, Uganda respectively.

During all the three events, ARU research team and students exhibited and documented all the other indigenous seeds and foods brought by other exhibitors. Data collection focused on the nutritional values, preservation, preparation, value addition and consumption, utilization and processing of indigenous food plants in Uganda.

2.1. The Local, Regional and National Food and Seed Fairs

The community (local) indigenous seed and food fair event took place at ARU and it was organized by URDT and ARU at the latter’s Multipurpose Hall, for one day on 5th October, 2019. Participants (exhibitors) included researchers, students and TWS from ARU, URDT girls’ school students, community members (farmers), Epicenter managers and URDT staff. There were ten (10) groups of exhibitors composed of the above participant categories. There was a panel discussion where the ARU researchers engaged the judges on preparation, conservation, consumption and nutritional benefits of indigenous foods from different parts of Uganda. The ARU research assistant and researcher conducted in-depth interviews with the ten exhibitors on the same variables as above (Figure 1). Other exhibitors had information regarding their displayed food items written down on info sheets. They voluntarily provided copies of such to the researchers. The nutritional content data was obtained from online sources (www. healthline.com, and www.glnc.org.au). The regional two-day event was held in Fort portal, Kabarole district between 11 - 12th October, 2019 (Figure 2).

There were 49 groups of exhibitors at the regional event, each operating one or more exhibition stalls. Farmers exhibited different types of indigenous foods and seeds. The ARU researchers and students also ran an exhibition stall but also moved to all the 49 stalls and interacted with the farmers/exhibitors regarding the identity, propagation, processing and nutritional benefits of the exhibited materials. Data was collected using printed data sheets (Table 1). During the event, ARU research team documented all the exhibited indigenous seeds and foods focusing on the same variables as above. The national event was held at UMA conference hall and parking area on 25th October, 2019. Farmers exhibited different types of indigenous foods and seeds from different regions and ethnicities of Uganda. The same methods as for the regional event were also used (Table 1).

2.2. Data Collection Procedure

Data collectors moved through the exhibition area, observed and interviewed (In-depth Interviews) all exhibitors in their stalls. Only indigenous foods and seeds brought to the community (local), regional and national food fair events were enumerated. The data tools used focused on the following variables (Table 1).

2.3. Data Analysis

Data was mainly qualitative and was analyzed inductively and manually using content analysis in Microsoft Word and Excel computer programs. It was condensed into meaning units and then coded. Themes were identified and organized into meaningful categories. Data from the local, regional and national food and seed fair events was merged, putting similar responses together. 8

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. The Indigenous Foods Brought for the Seed and Food Fair Exhibition

The local event attracted 19 different foods, nine local (indigenous) dishes (i.e. ensande, empogora, enyama, eshabwe, firinda, nyamusiri, oburo, mubumbo and omukaro) and seeds by six tribes (Batooro, Banyoro, Baganda, Banyankole, Bakiga and Iteso) within Kagadi district, Western Uganda. Most local foods in the local event were relishes and sauces e.g. firinda for the Batooro, eshabwe for the Banyankole, omukaro for Banyoro etc. These relishes and sauces are used to supplement the main dishes which mainly were akaro (mingled cassava and millet), mubumbo (mashed green bananas (matooke)- usually steamed), and empogora (steamed unpeeled banana fingers) (Table 2). These were prepared following the summarized recipes in Table 2 using traditional equipment e.g. clay pots. The raw foods and seeds at the local event were mainly cereals and fruits e.g. beans, millets, and sorghum and fruits like guava, green passion fruits, etc. There were also medicinal beverages (herbs) mixed with hot drinks to increase the aroma and also treat several ailments. Some of the outstanding exhibitors were supported to proceed to the regional food and seed fair event.

The regional event attracted the highest diversity of traditional foods. There were 63 different foods and seed types by five tribes i.e. Batooro, Banyoro, Banyankole, Bakiga and Bakonzo) in the Rwenzori region, making 49 groups. The indigenous foods at the regional event were also mainly sauces e.g. pigeon pea sauce, oyster nuts etc. There were also fruits e.g. amatehe (Aframomum angustifolium), entuutu (goose berries), tree tomato and beverages/herbs e.g. moringa leaves, powdered avocado seeds, and rosemary plants. There were also preservatives mainly chili, and tobacco leaves (Figure 4).

The national event attracted 36 different foods and seeds (Figure 3 & Figure 4) by only 11 tribes within Uganda. These include; Banyoro, Batooro, Bagisu, Acholi, Baganda, Basoga, Bagwere, Langi, Bakonzo, Kumam, and Iteso. Some of the items at regional and national events were also at local event e.g. sorghum, local beans, oyster nuts, tree tomato, bitter berries. We had mainly fruits and cereals plus oil plants like pea nuts, sim-sim, sun flower. At the national event foods were mainly sauces and more food items were added e.g. malewa (smoked bamboo shoots) from eastern Uganda, oxalic, malakwang (Hibiscus sabdariffa) from the northern Uganda. There were fruits eaten fresh and herbal beverages taken with tea and foods for the main meal e.g. climbing yam. Forty-one foods were enumerated and these were brought by different tribes of Uganda.

Despite the fact that local foods have been replaced with western alternatives like maize, wheat, rice, exotic vegetables like cabbages 4 the African indigenous foods are still existing. In the urban communities, diets are now dominated by exotic foods like fatty meats, sugary and salty foods. The African indigenous foods reported in other researches include; small grain cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, tropical fruits, legumes, starchy stem, wild yams and root tubers. These are, however, slowly disappearing from the agroecosystems in Uganda. Fresh fruits and vegetables including legumes, root tubers are also becoming scarce. There are also legumes that include; marama beans in South Africa, cowpeas, Bambara, ground nuts, chick peas. The oil seeds are mainly sesame oil seed. Cereals are sorghum, pearl millet, and finger millet.

There were no edible insects brought to the exhibitions yet traditional foods in East Africa also include edible insects. There are 1,900 edible insect species in east Africa and these include; termites, grasshoppers, crickets, ants, mayflies 9. The indigenous vegetables in Tanzania include African night shade, African eggplant, amaranth, okra, sweet potato leaves, pumpkin leaves, baobab, sesame, black jack, cassava leaves, jute mallow, and cowpeas 8. In Uganda, indigenous foods, generally, include; vegetables e.g. black night shade (enswiga), fruits e.g. wild plums, gooseberries, Aframomum anguistifula (amatehe), Physalis peruviana (entuutu) root tubers e.g. African yams, pulses e.g. cowpeas and cereals. Others include bean leaves eaten as sauce and medicine, pumpkin leaves and fruits eaten as both sauce and main dish. The calabash is eaten when young but used for serving local drinks when fully grown and dried 10. In Uganda we have grains – finger millet, and sorghum, staples – green banana, dried bamboo shoots (malewa), African bitter yams (balugu), vegetables and pulses like ground nuts, pumpkin, cowpeas, leafy vegs e.g. amaranthus, tricolor spinach, spider weed, cocoyam leaves, and roselle. Condiments and spices include clarified butter (ghee); animals are Mubende goat, Ankole long-horned cattle; fish – African lungfish, and sprat, insects – grasshoppers, winged termites (white ants), red palm weevil larva. There is also tamarind, kisansa and nyasa land coffee, green and purple passion fruit and honey 25. The indigenous foods in Nigeria include milk, plantain, maize, palm sap, African locust, beans, millet, sorghum and cassava 16 There is also yam, cowpea, and capsicum (pepper).

3.2. Preparation of Indigenous Traditional Foods

The indigenous food dishes that were exhibited during the food fair events include the following foods; Mixture of wild yams (ekirali/kaama), plantain banana (gonja) Musa spp., local yam (Dioscorea spp.), and cassava (Manihot esculenta); This was prepared in pans where spear grass was placed at the bottom of the pan and the raw foods put on top and covered with banana leaves. Water was added and the food was placed on fire and allowed to boil. It is eaten with beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and omukaro (smoked meat with roasted and ground nut paste) sauce. The bean sauce may be mixed with African eggplants (obujagi in runyoro) (Solanum macrocarpon), onions (Allium cepa), ghee and cherry tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme). The omukaro sauce is prepared by roasting meat about four days ahead of the event and then boiling it with white ants, mushrooms, and then pasting it with roasted groundnuts (Table 2). The enjwangya food is preferred by the Bakiga tribe in south-western Uganda. The enjwangya food is prepared by mixing different foods and sauce in one pot, covered with pumpkin leaves and then boiled. The ingredients are; cowpeas or masaza in runyoro (Vigna unguiculata), Pumpkin/ekihaza (Cucurbita spp.), sweet potato (Ipomea batatus) (not peeled), black night shade/ enswiga (Solanum nigrum), and ekisura (rock salt) (Table 3). The Empogora food is prepared by many tribes but mostly preferred by the Bakiga tribe. It is prepared by boiling unpeeled banana fingers in a pot bottom-lined with spear grass and banana leaves and spear grass. It is believed that the nutrients in the banana sap get well soaked from the peels into the edible part of the banana/matooke (Musa spp.) during the cooking process. Banana is mostly grown in central districts of Uganda and Ankole region, but currently it is largely planted in many parts of Bunyoro sub-region especially by Bakiga people 26. It has different species, each of which is prepared differently. The most common species in the restaurants is harvested freshly, and then peeled, put in the sauce pan, covered with banana leaves and then cooked/steamed. It is served in a mushy heap and eaten with different stews like Lowombo 25, beans, ground nuts, fish, and meat, among others. It can also be cooked or steamed unpeeled and the peelings are removed during serving then eaten with the above sauces. Other types of bananas include plantains (gonja) and apple bananas (karijju/kivuvu), these are harvested when ripe, cooked, roasted or smoked on top of the main meal and eaten for breakfast. One can also make gonja crisps which are widely sold in supermarkets as fast foods. There are also sweet bananas (ndiizi and Cavendish - bogoya) which are served as sweetener or dessert when ripe and can also be used to make pancakes for sell. Empogora and Enjwangya can be eaten with fresh meat well cooked in a clay pot and spiced with onions and tomatoes but not fried. The other sauce is ekisooma made from enkaiga (young bean pods), enswiga, and ebisokoro (steamed bean leaves). These are mixed together and boiled in a clay cooking pot. There was also akobokobo which is liked by Iteso ethnic group living in Bunyoro region. It is soaked in water and then boiled in clay pots. The Iteso also do a mixture of mugobe and eteke where they mix fresh pea leaves; boil and then add pea nuts, spiced with onions. Atapa (millet bread) is made from millet and a little cassava flour mingled in hot water in clay pot. Ekigudde was also prepared on the event and this is a delicacy for the Banyoro ethnic group. It is made from fresh cassava, beans and water. The ingredients are mixed together, boiled and then pounded. Ekisikule is preferred by Banyoro. Ekisikule is prepared from eyobyo (C. gynandra), ebinyobwa (ground nuts), obujagi (African eggplants), akasura (rock salt), beans and enswiga. These are first mixed and boiled, excess water removed and then pounded (mashed). There was also Ekigude. Ekigude food is for Batooro and was by prepared by mixing sweet potatoes, beans, African eggplants (enjagi) boiling them in a pot and then mingled. Ekitakuli kyebisusu n'enswiga was prepared by putting un-pealed sweet potatoes, water and salt in the clay pot add black night shade (enswiga) on top cover with banana leaves and then boil. Millet bread is prepared by mingling millet flour and little cassava flour. There was an important sauce for the Batooro and Banyoro called firinda. To prepare firinda, remove the seed coat from the beans and boil. Then add akisura (little rock salt), and amagita (cow ghee). Esabwe is liked by Batooro and Banyankole. It is prepared from omukaro (smoked meat); katunkuma (bitter berries), ekisura (rock salt), obutuzi (mushroom), and amagita (cow ghee). To get esabwe, mix them together and boil (Table 2). Eshabwe (Ghee sauce) is a traditional dish mainly prepared by the Banyankole tribe of western Uganda. According to a 22-year-old female student at ARU, to make eshabwe, wash the ghee in cold water to remove the dirt and impurities, mix a pinch of rock salt in water to dissolve, add the salty water to the ghee and stir until the ghee changes color from yellow to white, add water as you continue to stir, until the content turns white, dissolve the salt in cold, boiled water and pour into the already formed eshabwe. Stir until you get the desired thickness. Then, sieve the eshabwe to remove particles or impurities that could have remained. Serve the eshabwe as sauce with any food of preference like millet bread (kalo), matooke, sweet potatoes or posho. The same preparation of eshabwe has been reported by other researchers 25. Kalo or akaro (millet + cassava bread) it is usually made from millet flour but also other starches such as sorghum or cassava flour are added. The Banyoro, Batooro, and Banyankole make Kalo from millet flour mixed with little cassava flour, but for Basoga and Bakonzo put more of cassava flour than millet flour or sometimes eat mingled pure cassava flour as kalo. The Iteso, Langi, Acholi, and Kumam tribes from Far East and northern Uganda use Sorghum instead of millet flour to make kalo. Malakwang is a green leafy vegetable but a little sourer. Malakwang is traditionally prepared in northern Uganda by Acholi tribes. It is relatively easier to prepare and the following are the steps; bring two cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, add malakwang, let it boil for 20 minutes or until malakwang is tender. Remove from the fire and drain, get another clean saucepan, add four cups hot water; add ground nut paste or peanut butter. Using a wooden spoon for mixing, stir the water and ground nut paste until they are well mixed. Add the drained malakwang and continue stirring until malakwang is well mixed into the ground nut paste. You then add salt to have taste. Serve malakwang when warm or cool. On the national event, exhibitors also brought boo (Acholi) or Omugobe (Runyoro). Boo is a popular sauce in northern Uganda but becoming common in north eastern and other parts of Uganda 25. Ingredients for making boo relish include; chopped okra, boo leaves, sim-sim, or sesame seeds, rock salt and peanuts, also known as groundnuts. According to a 35-year-old male exhibitor from northern Uganda, “it is necessary to pluck each leaf, because the branches in the sauce make it hard to eat and enjoy the sauce,” he explains. He adds that it is important to measure the amount of okra you put in the sauce, as everyone’s taste varies. These same boo leaves are consumed in western and central parts of Uganda commonly known as ‘omugobe’. The fresh leaves are harvested, cooked or steamed, then the cooked leaves are sun dried on a clean flat plane, then pounded to form powder from it. It is this powder that is put in ready sauce like ground nut paste, ‘omukaro’ (roasted pasted meat) sauce, among others and eaten.

3.3. The Processing of Fresh (Uncooked/Fresh) Foods

The processed foods at the local/community event were mainly cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruits, tubers, and rhizomes. These were mainly processed by drying, roasting, cooking/steaming, boiling (Table 2). The traditional methods for food preservation and processing in other researches, include; sun drying – for cereals, grinding, roasting e.g. meat, yams, etc., mashing, cooking and shelling. A combination of methods is used on many occasions e.g. drying + grinding, boiling + drying + grinding, chop + drying and drying + roasting 27, 28, 29. Sun-drying involves boiling the leaves in salted water and then setting them out to dry for days at a time. Food processing in west Africa is done in five categories; 1) Post harvest handling practices – threshing, winnowing, hulling, and peeling. 2) milling – dry milling, wet milling, 3) heat processing – roasting, cooking, parboiling, 4) sun drying, smoke drying; 5) fermentation, say for, milk, plantain, maize, palm sap, African locust, beans, millet, sorghum and cassava 16. Local foods in Nigeria are processed by Lisabi mills into yam flour, cowpea flour, dried milled capsicum (pepper) 16. There is sweet potato processed into chips in Zambia, smoked meat + ground nut paste in Uganda; cooking by wrapping in banana leaves – luwombo, injera in Ethiopia made from fermented cereal bread. Fermenting and drying green leaves of vegetables. Blood charquin made by boiling, and drying animal blood in Peruvian highlands 30.

3.4. Food Preservation Methods

Sun drying and roasting are the key modes of extending shelf-life of food commodities in Uganda. Almost all the exhibitors confirmed that they employ sun drying and food roasting as a means of food preservation. The Bakonzo use of kafumbe plant (Conyza sumatrensis) and tobacco to repel and prevent some storage pests and diseases. These natural repellants are planted at the edges of crop fields to destruct pests from invading crops, without disturbing biodiversity. Other pest control measures include; chili solution, Hot water, and urine. These are applied on plants or around the stem using a bucket or watering can to repel pests. This minimizes land degradation by reducing the use of artificial pesticides. The preservation methods for seeds in other studies include; application of organic materials as pesticides e.g. anthill soil, ash, pepper, and tephrozia 10. The seeds are preserved by soaking in cow urine, cow dung, slurry, animal fat, oils and milk to maintain their dormancy. People from the northern region of Uganda preserve boo by drying the leaves in the sun for consumption during the off-season. These modes of preservation are the most common in the developing economies like Uganda, as has been observed by other researchers 27, 28, 29, 31, 32. However, they are applied more frequently to cereals and meat than to fruits and vegetables. In fact, very few people in the area knew that both fruits and vegetables could be dried as a way of preserving them. The other commonly used methods included sun drying accompanied by grinding and application of natural pesticides (ash and brown soil) before storage. Food preservation is still at a small scale and this results in high post-harvest losses of the produce and hence food insecurity and malnutrition.

3.5. Benefits of Indigenous Traditional Foods

A food mixture of wild yam, dessert banana and cassava) is mainly prepared and preferred by the Banyoro ethnic group in mid-western Uganda and is believed to provide lots of calories to the body. Omukaro is believed to provide proteins to the body. This is because it is made out of meat, a major protein source. Enjwangya is perceived to increase wisdom, memory and energy of the consumers. Bananas are a healthy source of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, and various antioxidants and phytonutrients. Atapa (millet bread) gives energy. Kisikule food is believed to strengthen the gallbladder. Ekigude is believed to provide energy and proteins. The Ekitakuli- kyebisusu n'enswiga mixture is a good source of energy and proteins. Millet provides starch, iron and is energy-giving. According to one female student at ARU, eshabwe is very nutritious and a good source of fats, vitamin A, vitamin B and B12 that cannot be found in vegetables. The kalo is rich in carbohydrates, copper, phosphorous, manganese, and Leucine. Malakwang is always prepared culturally at marriage ceremonies and women are advised to always prepare it during the time of challenges in order to remind them of their good moments thus interpreting sour and sweet taste of the malakwang delicacy. Boo sauce was traditionally cooked by women while men were on hunting trips. As a result, it was commonly thought of as a sauce for women, but that idea has changed. Now the sauce is believed to bring good luck in marriage, so it’s often served at weddings throughout northern Uganda. Boo is a healthy sauce, because it is a vegetable, has fewer calories and is filled with nutrients like protein and carbohydrates a reason why there are fewer obese or malnourished people in northern Uganda.

According to other studies, traditional diets are also associated with traditional medicines. African foods are known to treat several ailments. For example, vegetable and wild foods treat abdominal pains, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, wounds, malaria, intestinal worms, 4, 17. “Indigenous plants are more resilient to unfavorable environmental conditions. They shrive with minimum care unlike their exotic counterparts” (Male exhibitor, regional event - ARU Researchers). They are cheap sources of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), mainly from fruits and vegetables, vitamin A, carotenoids, folic acid, minerals, say, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, 16. Fresh fruits provide carbohydrates, and fiber. African potato contains twice the protein of common potato and Calcium, vitamin A, iron 20, 33. Indigenous fruits are used for food as snacks, relish (sauce), and for medicine and rituals. Some crops like Cleome gynandra (eyobyo in Runyoro) are sold for income 10. Serving and consumption of traditional dishes made from traditional recipes increases food heritage 25. Indigenous foods have socio-cultural benefits 18, 21, 34. They offer excellent nutritional benefits – more energy content from traditional foods among the arctic communities. The consumption of indigenous provides cultural benefits e.g. promoting sharing and cooperation among communities. In Alaska, traditional foods associated with language, traditional medicine and traditional events 19 spiritual benefits e.g. during worship events, nutrition benefits – they are high in protein, low in fat, healthier fats, more vitamins and minerals 19. Researches have shown that traditional root tubers like wild yams species, potato, Disa spp., Habenaria walleri, and Satyrium spp. are important traditional crops and these are more superior than the conventional foods like cassava, potatoes, and sweet potato in tolerance against hard environmental conditions. Typical African diets are composed of mushrooms (of different types), which are rich in carbohydrates, protein, fiber, mineral elements like; Calcium, Iron, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, and bioactive compounds.

3.6. Propagation of Local Foods and Seeds

The findings show that the cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruits, tubers, and rhizomes brought at the exhibitions were mainly propagated by seed and rhizomes. It was revealed by exhibitors that, traditional indigenous foods sometimes just grow on their own and grow in the wild or cultivated 10. There are both asexual (vegetative) and sexual (seed) methods of propagation 11. Vegetative methods include 12, 14 cuttings, grafting, budding, layering, micro-propagation (meristem, axillary and embryo culture), splits, rhizomes, suckers, crowns, slips, tubers, bulbs, vines, corms, runners. In Ethiopia 13 the ‘ensete’ are propagated using seed, suckers from rhizomes and traditional macro-propagation - this involves splitting the corm following the eyes to allow quick multiplication.

4. Conclusion and Recommendations

There is still a huge diversity of wild, traditional and indigenous foods in Uganda. The foods brought at the exhibitions were mainly of plant origin. These are scattered with minimal conservation and utilization. There is need to organize such indigenous/traditional fairs more regularly that once a year to capture seasonal foods and create sites or areas for conservation of these endangered species of plants.

Integrated biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability in all agricultural activities is necessary to boost the net output, enhance diversity of highly nutritious, cultural and medicinal foods, and at the same time enhancing agro-biodiversity through agro-ecological farming systems. It is necessary to conduct more scientific research; e.g. comparison of nutrient content of similar foods under different methods of preparation/cooking

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the exhibitors who provided us with data at local, regional and national levels. Appreciation to Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Uganda for sponsoring the regional and national indigenous/traditional food and seed fair events. We appreciate ARU and URDT for supporting this work financially. We also thank, in a special way, Ms. Jackline Akello and Dr. Mwalimu Musheshe for providing technical guidance during the writing of this paper.

References

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[4]  H. J. Muyonga, “Traditional African Foods and Their Potential to Contribute to Health and Nutrition : Traditional African Foods,” no. January, 2017.
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[5]  J. Kamara and A. Renzaho, “The politics of food and the fight against hunger: Reflections and lessons from Uganda,” African J. food, Agric. Nutr. develoment, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 9016-9038, 2014.
In article      
 
[6]  Uganda IPC Technical Working Group, “Report of the integrated food security phase classification analysis for Uganda,” Kampala, Uganda, 2017.
In article      
 
[7]  S. Ghosh-Jerath, A. Singh, T. Lyngdoh, M. S. Magsumbol, P. Kamboj, and G. Goldberg, “Estimates of Indigenous Food Consumption and Their Contribution to Nutrient Intake in Oraon Tribal Women of Jharkhand, India,” Food Nutr. Bull., vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 581-594, 2018.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[8]  J. Ochieng, V. Afari-Sefa, D. Karanja, S. Rajendran, S. Silvest, and R. Kessy, “Promoting consumption of traditional African vegetables and its effect on food and nutrition security in Tanzania,” Fifth Conf. African Assoc. Agric. Econ. (5th CAAAE) “Transforming Smallhold. Agric. Africa role policy governance.,” pp. 1-20, 2016.
In article      
 
[9]  J. N. Kinyuru, J. B. Mogendi, C. A. Riwa, and N. W. Ndung’u, “Edible insects-A novel source of essential nutrients for human diet: Learning from traditional knowledge,” Anim. Front., vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 14-19, 2015.
In article      
 
[10]  J. Kikafunda and B. Kiremire, “Utilization of indigenous food plants in Uganda : A case study of South Western Uganda,” African J. food, Agric. Nutr. develoment, vol. 6, no. July 2014, 2014.
In article      
 
[11]  B. H. Abbasi, N. Ahmad, H. Fazal, and T. Mahmood, “Conventional and modern propagation techniques in Piper nigrum,” J. Med. plant Res., no. January, 2010.
In article      
 
[12]  H. Jaenicke, “Vegetative Propagation,” .
In article      
 
[13]  Z. Yemataw, K. Tawle, G. Blomme, and K. Jacobsen, “Traditional enset [Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman] sucker propagation methods and opportunities for crop improvement,” Fruits, vol. 73, no. 6, pp. 342-348, 2018.
In article      View Article
 
[14]  H. G. Megersa, “Propagation Methods of Selected Horticultural Crops by Specialized Organs: Review,” J. Hortic., vol. 04, no. 02, 2017.
In article      View Article
 
[15]  AGRA, “Africa agriculture status report: Focus on staple crops,” Nairobi, Kenya, 2013.
In article      
 
[16]  O. Aworh, “The Role of Traditional Food Processing Technologies in National Development: The West African Experience,” no. January 2008, pp. 1-18, 2008.
In article      
 
[17]  J. E. Tibagonzeka et al., “Post-Harvest Handling Practices and Losses for Legumes and Starchy Staples in Uganda,” Agric. Sci., vol. 09, no. 01, pp. 141-156, 2018.
In article      View Article
 
[18]  H. V Kuhnlein, S. Yesudas, L. Dan, and S. Ahmed, Documenting Traditional Food Systems of Indigenous Peoples: International Case Studies, no. April. Canada, 2006.
In article      
 
[19]  L. Earle, “Diet and Nutrition in Aboriginal Communities,” vol. 35, no. 2. 2013.
In article      
 
[20]  S. Kasimba, N. Covic, B. Motswagole, R. Laubscher, and N. Claasen, “Consumption of Traditional and Indigenous Foods and Their Contribution to Nutrient Intake among Children and Women in Botswana,” Ecol. Food Nutr., vol. 58, no. 3, pp. 281-298, 2019.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[21]  H. Kuhnlein, B. Erasmus, and D. Spigelski, Indigenous Peoples food systems : the many. Rome, Italy: FAO, 2009.
In article      
 
[22]  FAO, Indigenous peoples’ food systems and well-being interventions and policies for healthy. Rome, Italy, 2013.
In article      
 
[23]  Wellesley Centers for Women and Erkut and S. Erkut, “Research & Action Report, Fall/Winter 2014,” Res. Action Rep., 2014.
In article      
 
[24]  P. Seybold, “The Evolution of African Rural University,” Needham, USA, 2013.
In article      View Article
 
[25]  I. Marocco, E. Mukibi, R. Nsenga, and J. Wanyu, Uganda From Earth to Table; Kampala, Uganda.
In article      
 
[26]  Anne Vézina, “Uganda | The banana knowledge platform of the ProMusa network,” ProMusa, 2019. [Online]. Available: http://www.promusa.org/Uganda.
In article      
 
[27]  M. O. Oluoch, F. O. Habwe, J. B. Ngegba, and K. R. Koskei, “Food Preparation and Processing Methods on Nutrient Retention and Accessibility in Selected Indigenous Vegetables from East Africa,” no. January, pp. 233-241, 2012.
In article      
 
[28]  I. S. Asogwa, J. I. Okoye, and K. Oni, “Promotion of Indigenous Food Preservation and Processing Knowledge and the Challenge of Food Security in Africa,” J. Food Secur., vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 75-87, 2017.
In article      
 
[29]  G. O. Adegoke and A. A. Olapade, “Preservation of Plant and Animal Foods: An Overview,” Prog. Food Preserv., no. January, pp. 603-611, 2012.
In article      View Article
 
[30]  Nutrition Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition, “Indigenous Methods of Food Preparation : What is their Impact on Food Security and Nutrition ?,” 2013.
In article      
 
[31]  H. Yousry and E. El-shafie, “Indigenous Knowledge and Practices Related to Food Preparation and Preservation in a Bedouin Community , Egypt,” in International research on food security, natural resources management and rural development, 2013, p. 12577.
In article      
 
[32]  P. Krishnan, V.Seervi, P., Bhati, A., Singhal., H., Sushil, I., S., Prazapati, “Study of traditional methods of food preservation, its scientific understanding and technological intervention,” 2014.
In article      
 
[33]  M. Khakoni, W. Bed, and M. Phd, “Indigenous Food Processing Methods that Improve Nutrient Bioavailability in Plant-based Diets of the Kenyan Population: the Example of Zinc,” in International Union of Food Science & Technology, Food Scien., 2008.
In article      
 
[34]  H. Kuhnlein, S. Smitasiri, S. Yesudas, L. Bhattacharjee, L. Dan, and S. Ahmed, Documenting traditional food systems of indigenous peoples: international case studies, no. April. 2006.
In article      
 

Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2020 Charles L. Tumuhe, Kasfa Ategeka, Christopher Sunday, Dennis Tibaijuka and Crispus B. Muhindo

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Normal Style
Charles L. Tumuhe, Kasfa Ategeka, Christopher Sunday, Dennis Tibaijuka, Crispus B. Muhindo. The Utilization of Traditional and Indigenous Foods and Seeds in Uganda. Journal of Food Security. Vol. 8, No. 1, 2020, pp 11-21. http://pubs.sciepub.com/jfs/8/1/2
MLA Style
Tumuhe, Charles L., et al. "The Utilization of Traditional and Indigenous Foods and Seeds in Uganda." Journal of Food Security 8.1 (2020): 11-21.
APA Style
Tumuhe, C. L. , Ategeka, K. , Sunday, C. , Tibaijuka, D. , & Muhindo, C. B. (2020). The Utilization of Traditional and Indigenous Foods and Seeds in Uganda. Journal of Food Security, 8(1), 11-21.
Chicago Style
Tumuhe, Charles L., Kasfa Ategeka, Christopher Sunday, Dennis Tibaijuka, and Crispus B. Muhindo. "The Utilization of Traditional and Indigenous Foods and Seeds in Uganda." Journal of Food Security 8, no. 1 (2020): 11-21.
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[1]  NPA, “Uganda vision 2040,” Kampala, Uganda, 2013.
In article      
 
[2]  The World Bank, “Farming Up: Uganda’s Agriculture and Food System Can Create Jobs,” November, 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/uganda/publication/ug- uganda-developing-the-agri-food-system-for-inclusive-economic-growth. [Accessed: 08-Nov-2019].
In article      
 
[3]  Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, “National Seed Policy,” 2009.
In article      
 
[4]  H. J. Muyonga, “Traditional African Foods and Their Potential to Contribute to Health and Nutrition : Traditional African Foods,” no. January, 2017.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  J. Kamara and A. Renzaho, “The politics of food and the fight against hunger: Reflections and lessons from Uganda,” African J. food, Agric. Nutr. develoment, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 9016-9038, 2014.
In article      
 
[6]  Uganda IPC Technical Working Group, “Report of the integrated food security phase classification analysis for Uganda,” Kampala, Uganda, 2017.
In article      
 
[7]  S. Ghosh-Jerath, A. Singh, T. Lyngdoh, M. S. Magsumbol, P. Kamboj, and G. Goldberg, “Estimates of Indigenous Food Consumption and Their Contribution to Nutrient Intake in Oraon Tribal Women of Jharkhand, India,” Food Nutr. Bull., vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 581-594, 2018.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[8]  J. Ochieng, V. Afari-Sefa, D. Karanja, S. Rajendran, S. Silvest, and R. Kessy, “Promoting consumption of traditional African vegetables and its effect on food and nutrition security in Tanzania,” Fifth Conf. African Assoc. Agric. Econ. (5th CAAAE) “Transforming Smallhold. Agric. Africa role policy governance.,” pp. 1-20, 2016.
In article      
 
[9]  J. N. Kinyuru, J. B. Mogendi, C. A. Riwa, and N. W. Ndung’u, “Edible insects-A novel source of essential nutrients for human diet: Learning from traditional knowledge,” Anim. Front., vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 14-19, 2015.
In article      
 
[10]  J. Kikafunda and B. Kiremire, “Utilization of indigenous food plants in Uganda : A case study of South Western Uganda,” African J. food, Agric. Nutr. develoment, vol. 6, no. July 2014, 2014.
In article      
 
[11]  B. H. Abbasi, N. Ahmad, H. Fazal, and T. Mahmood, “Conventional and modern propagation techniques in Piper nigrum,” J. Med. plant Res., no. January, 2010.
In article      
 
[12]  H. Jaenicke, “Vegetative Propagation,” .
In article      
 
[13]  Z. Yemataw, K. Tawle, G. Blomme, and K. Jacobsen, “Traditional enset [Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman] sucker propagation methods and opportunities for crop improvement,” Fruits, vol. 73, no. 6, pp. 342-348, 2018.
In article      View Article
 
[14]  H. G. Megersa, “Propagation Methods of Selected Horticultural Crops by Specialized Organs: Review,” J. Hortic., vol. 04, no. 02, 2017.
In article      View Article
 
[15]  AGRA, “Africa agriculture status report: Focus on staple crops,” Nairobi, Kenya, 2013.
In article      
 
[16]  O. Aworh, “The Role of Traditional Food Processing Technologies in National Development: The West African Experience,” no. January 2008, pp. 1-18, 2008.
In article      
 
[17]  J. E. Tibagonzeka et al., “Post-Harvest Handling Practices and Losses for Legumes and Starchy Staples in Uganda,” Agric. Sci., vol. 09, no. 01, pp. 141-156, 2018.
In article      View Article
 
[18]  H. V Kuhnlein, S. Yesudas, L. Dan, and S. Ahmed, Documenting Traditional Food Systems of Indigenous Peoples: International Case Studies, no. April. Canada, 2006.
In article      
 
[19]  L. Earle, “Diet and Nutrition in Aboriginal Communities,” vol. 35, no. 2. 2013.
In article      
 
[20]  S. Kasimba, N. Covic, B. Motswagole, R. Laubscher, and N. Claasen, “Consumption of Traditional and Indigenous Foods and Their Contribution to Nutrient Intake among Children and Women in Botswana,” Ecol. Food Nutr., vol. 58, no. 3, pp. 281-298, 2019.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 
[21]  H. Kuhnlein, B. Erasmus, and D. Spigelski, Indigenous Peoples food systems : the many. Rome, Italy: FAO, 2009.
In article      
 
[22]  FAO, Indigenous peoples’ food systems and well-being interventions and policies for healthy. Rome, Italy, 2013.
In article      
 
[23]  Wellesley Centers for Women and Erkut and S. Erkut, “Research & Action Report, Fall/Winter 2014,” Res. Action Rep., 2014.
In article      
 
[24]  P. Seybold, “The Evolution of African Rural University,” Needham, USA, 2013.
In article      View Article
 
[25]  I. Marocco, E. Mukibi, R. Nsenga, and J. Wanyu, Uganda From Earth to Table; Kampala, Uganda.
In article      
 
[26]  Anne Vézina, “Uganda | The banana knowledge platform of the ProMusa network,” ProMusa, 2019. [Online]. Available: http://www.promusa.org/Uganda.
In article      
 
[27]  M. O. Oluoch, F. O. Habwe, J. B. Ngegba, and K. R. Koskei, “Food Preparation and Processing Methods on Nutrient Retention and Accessibility in Selected Indigenous Vegetables from East Africa,” no. January, pp. 233-241, 2012.
In article      
 
[28]  I. S. Asogwa, J. I. Okoye, and K. Oni, “Promotion of Indigenous Food Preservation and Processing Knowledge and the Challenge of Food Security in Africa,” J. Food Secur., vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 75-87, 2017.
In article      
 
[29]  G. O. Adegoke and A. A. Olapade, “Preservation of Plant and Animal Foods: An Overview,” Prog. Food Preserv., no. January, pp. 603-611, 2012.
In article      View Article
 
[30]  Nutrition Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition, “Indigenous Methods of Food Preparation : What is their Impact on Food Security and Nutrition ?,” 2013.
In article      
 
[31]  H. Yousry and E. El-shafie, “Indigenous Knowledge and Practices Related to Food Preparation and Preservation in a Bedouin Community , Egypt,” in International research on food security, natural resources management and rural development, 2013, p. 12577.
In article      
 
[32]  P. Krishnan, V.Seervi, P., Bhati, A., Singhal., H., Sushil, I., S., Prazapati, “Study of traditional methods of food preservation, its scientific understanding and technological intervention,” 2014.
In article      
 
[33]  M. Khakoni, W. Bed, and M. Phd, “Indigenous Food Processing Methods that Improve Nutrient Bioavailability in Plant-based Diets of the Kenyan Population: the Example of Zinc,” in International Union of Food Science & Technology, Food Scien., 2008.
In article      
 
[34]  H. Kuhnlein, S. Smitasiri, S. Yesudas, L. Bhattacharjee, L. Dan, and S. Ahmed, Documenting traditional food systems of indigenous peoples: international case studies, no. April. 2006.
In article