Food Security

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 1437–1447 | Cite as

Status and scope of kitchen gardening of green leafy vegetables in rural Tanzania: implications for nutrition interventions

  • Constance Rybak
  • Hadijah Ally Mbwana
  • Michelle Bonatti
  • Stefan Sieber
  • Klaus Müller
Original Paper


Kitchen gardens in Tanzania are currently facing a variety of threats. However, many households depend on basic farming activities to meet household food needs. The objective of this study was to describe the current status and scope of kitchen gardening for improving the food security situation in the Morogoro and Dodoma regions of Tanzania. A cluster sampling method was used to select 383 households. The main respondents were mothers or caregivers responsible for food preparation. Techniques for data collection were observations, focus group discussions and face to face interviews. A small proportion (2.6%) of residents in the semi-arid Dodoma region had a kitchen garden as compared to the sub-humid Morogoro region (9.9%). Sweet potato leaves, cassava leaves, pumpkin leaves, cowpea leaves and African egg plant were the principal vegetables grown in the two areas. The market provided vegetables to 87% of the surveyed households. Vegetables sold at the market were mostly in the dried form, fresh vegetables in the market being those cultivated near ponds, especially during dry seasons. About 90% and 55% of the kitchen garden produce was used for home consumption in Dodoma and Morogoro, respectively. Women contributed 80% and 75%of the total labor for managing kitchen gardens in Dodoma and Morogoro, respectively. Socio-cultural factors (food habit and demand and supply of food materials), environmental factors (climatic factors, water availability), types of soils and farmers’ local knowledge and understanding (traditional knowledge and practices, formal and non-formal education) were the key determinants of vegetables grown in the traditional kitchen garden. Kitchen gardening was practised by few of the surveyed households and the diversity of the planted vegetables was low. Factors that influenced the presence of a kitchen gardens at household level were: sex of the household head (p = 0.002), literacy status of the mother/caregiver (p = 0.001) and the education level (p = 0.001) of the respondent.


Kitchen gardening Vegetables Climate change adaptation Coping strategies Agricultural innovations 



The work in this paper was funded by the Innovating Strategies to Safeguard Food Security using Technology and Knowledge Transfer: A People-Centred Approach Project (‘Trans-SEC’). The Trans-SEC project is financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and co-financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. and International Society for Plant Pathology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Constance Rybak
    • 1
  • Hadijah Ally Mbwana
    • 2
  • Michelle Bonatti
    • 1
  • Stefan Sieber
    • 1
    • 3
  • Klaus Müller
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape ResearchMünchebergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Food Technology, Nutrition and Consumer SciencesSokoine University of AgricultureMorogoroTanzania
  3. 3.Faculty of Life Sciences, Department of Agricultural EconomicsHumboldt UniversityBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Faculty of Life Sciences, Thaer-Institute, Economics and Policies of Rural AreasHumboldt UniversityBerlinGermany

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