African Journal of
Environmental Science and Technology

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Environ. Sci. Technol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0786
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJEST
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 1126

Full Length Research Paper

Comparative analysis of production practices and utilization of pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo and Cucurbita maxima) by smallholder farmers in the Lake Victoria Basin, East Africa

Alice N. Ondigi1*, William W. Toili2, Afihini S. M. Ijani3 and Stanley O. Omuterema4
  1Kenyatta University, Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, P.O. Box 43844, 00100 GPO. Nairobi, Kenya. 2Masinde Muliro University of Science And Technology Department Of Science And Mathematics Education P.O. Box 190 - 50100, Kakamega, Kenya. 3Tropical Pesticides Research Institute, P. O. Box 3024,Arusha, Tanzania. 4Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology,Centre For Disaster Management And Humanitarian Assistance, P.O. Box 190 – 50100,Kakamega, Kenya
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 28 September 2008
  •  Published: 31 October 2008

Abstract

 

Study was carried out in 2007 in four districts of Lake Victoria Basin: Busia, Gucha, Tarime and Jinja. Rapid participatory appraisal approaches were used to assess the socio-economic, cultural, gender and environmental aspects related to cultivation, storage and utilization of pumpkins by the native communities living in the four selected districts. It was observed that majority of the farmers in the Lake Victoria basin do not consider pumpkins as first priority food crop as much as it is not considered as a viable commercial crop because it was ranked a fifth food crop in Jinja, Gucha and Tarime and sixth food crop in Busia while 96.4, 98.1 and 59.5% of the farmers in Busia, Gucha and Tarime, respectively reported that pumpkins was being planted for domestic consumption. Many of the pumpkin farmers in the districts appreciated the crop’s nutritional and medicinal values since they said that pumpkins provided vitamins, minerals, starch and proteins up to 57, 32, 39 and 5%, respectively.  It was found that pumpkins were mostly grown by low income members of the community who mainly utilize the leaves as vegetables and occasionally consume the fruit when cooked. Pumpkins were stored in raw form by carefully harvesting them with the stalk still attached. Management of the pumpkin stores was a prerogative of the female in all the areas the research was carried out. Pumpkin farmers stored seeds for future planting. Planting of pumpkins in the Lake Victoria basin was done during the long rains and the crop performed well in loamy soils. In isolated cases the crop thrived in clay and sandy soils an indicator of its resilience in various climatic conditions.

 

Key words: Pumpkin, ethnobotanic studies, nutritional value, medicinal value, gender, culture, environmental. aspects