Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 131–140 | Cite as

Promoting competitiveness of neglected and underutilized crop species: comparative analysis of nutritional composition of indigenous and exotic leafy and fruit vegetables in Ghana

  • D. NyadanuEmail author
  • S. T. Lowor
Notes on Neglected and Underutilized Crops


Ghana is endowed with a lot of indigenous leaf and fruit vegetables which are nutritious and are used in the treatment of many ailments. However, current changes in food habits in both rural and urban households have led to overdependence on energy-rich but nutrient poor staple crops. Most of these non-indigenous staple crops are not adapted to local conditions in Ghana as compared to indigenous vegetables making their production and consumption expensive and therefore worsening malnutrition and food insecurity issues. To promote consumption of indigenous vegetables and conservation of their genetic resources in Ghana, proximate, mineral and vitamins composition and medicinal properties of five indigenous leaf (Amaranthus cruentus, Corchorus olitorius, Solanum macrocarpon, Xanthosoma sagittifolium, Adasonia digitata) and three fruit vegetables (Solanum torvum, Solanum aethiopicum, Solanum macrocarpon) vegetables were evaluated using recommended methodologies. Proximate, mineral and vitamins composition varied significantly among the species analyzed. Nutritional composition of indigenous leaf and fruit vegetables were compared with that of exotic vegetables and significant differences were noted. In general, proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fibers, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E were significantly higher in indigenous vegetables than their exotic counterparts. The results highlight nutritional importance of indigenous vegetables and the need to promote their consumption and safeguard their genetic resources. For further promotion, some urgent research directions are suggested.


Diets Diversification Food security Genetic resources Indigenous vegetables Nutrition 



We wish to acknowledge the support, training and capacity building courses of International Foundation for Science and Biodiversity International on neglected and underutilized crops which has helped to undertake this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture EducationUniversity of Education, WinnebaAsante, MampongGhana
  2. 2.Division of Physiology and BiochemistryCocoa Research Institute of GhanaAkim TafoGhana

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