The African Traditional Foods (ATFs) is an FCI approach to food security and nutrition through promoting production and utilization of traditional foods which are well adapted to local conditions and require low levels of inputs and are resilience to climate change, pests, diseases and economic turbulence. The adaptability to climate change and resistant to pests and diseases ensure availability of quantity, nutritious and diverse household foods. The approach is anchored on the FCI Commercial Villages Action Plan where villages prioritize African Traditional Foods (ATFs) for healthy lifestyles, through commercialization to improve accessibility to a wide range of traditional foods as well as household incomes. 

ATFs are highly nutritious and the approach fosters wide consumption of nutritious, healthy, diverse and safe food by various cohorts, including under-five, elderly, pregnant and lactating mothers as well as invalids members of the Commercial Villages. FCI has been on the forefront in educating consumers on the benefits of ATFs for increased demand through which household incomes are addressed to ensure stable and sustainable availability, access and utilization of these foods. FCI has addresses the poor man’s crop and livestock perception through consumer market analysis and awareness campaigns which has turned around this view. The ATFs approach is supported by FCI market-led programming through various strategies that ensure smallholder households integrate nutritious traditional crops and livestock for improved livelihoods.

Traditional Foods Club

The Traditional African Foods (TAF) Club is a modern internet based club that has been initiated by Farm Concern International to mobilize consumers to incorporate nutritious foods in their diets. It aims to change consumer attitudes and perceptions of Traditional African Foods which are nutrient -rich so that they become prime foods of choice in all kitchens and dining tables. Traditional Foods include traditional vegetables such as Amaranth, Spider Plant cowpeas and African night shade; staples and pulses such as cassava, sweet potatoes, millets and sorghum. The TAF club will be successful when it succeeds in making in households or restaurants discontent any time they do not have a selection of traditional foods in their kitchens and menus.  The club is riding on the growing interest by consumers in nutritious foods and healthy living by providing food facts and insights to visitors. Information will be provided on nutritional value of foods, food selection and preparation, and recipes ideas for African traditional foods. The club was initiated to respond and engage with the high number of visitors that visit the Recipes section of the Traditional Foods site on the Farm Concern International website. 

Lifestyle disease trends 

In recent years, traditional African foods are gaining popularity with urban consumers who are becoming more conscious of changing their habits to adopt more healthy lifestyles that incorporate nutritious foods in their diets and physical exercise.  This is as a consequence of personal experience that affects Kenyan households who know patients suffering from a lifestyle related disease either as family members, relatives or friends and acquaintances. This has contributed to consumers gaining knowledge about the link between unhealthy lifestyles, choice of foods and disease. 

Kenya is not exempt from experiencing a rise in lifestyle related diseases faced by other countries the world over. Conditions such as obesity and diseases like hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes Type 2 and renal diseases have increased and stem from the type of foods being consumed and a sedentary life style. These foods include fast foods and processed foods which characteristically are stripped of important nutrients or contain a lot of oil due to being fried. 

Consumer behavior 

The appetite by consumers to safeguard their health through utilizing nutritional supplement has attracted companies that market nutritional supplements.  Consumers are spending substantial amount of their income on different types of nutritional supplements in an effort to be healthier. Consumers are also searching for information on how to live healthy. The TAF Club will this play a role to address the needs, offering food based solutions which is cheaper , affordable  and more healthy to households as compared to purchasing nutritional  supplements. 

How the TAF Club will function 

Visitors on the TAF club website will access general information that will be updated on regular basis on foods and nutrition with emphasis on African Traditional foods, and food and nutrition events.   Visitors will be required to register  as members to access more information on recipes and nutrition, and  videos on food preparation. They will also be able to engage in interactively so that their concerns and views are taken care of. 

Case Studies

Smallholder farmer benefits from farming Traditional African Vegetables

William Gathungu and his wife Mary are among the households in the Domestic Markets Regional Programme implemented by Farm Concern International with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that have realized the nutritional and economic value of growing Traditional African Vegetables (TAVs). They are members of Kahuho Commercial Village in Nairobi Kenya. Before Farm Concern International intervention, the couple was growing TAVS on less than 1/8 an acre...  Read More

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FCI VISION :Commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond.