Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of rural women in the dry zone of Sri Lanka on underutilized vegetable crops
Keywords:Underutilized vegetables, Medicinal Values, Food Preparations, Conservation, Women, Sri Lanka
Background: Underutilized vegetables are those plant species with potential food and medicinal uses, and contributing to the socio-economic welfare of the rural communities. However, they are underexploited. These plants play a vital role in rural communities, particularly for the women, in food supply and preparation and thus contributing to dietary variations and food security in households. The present study was conducted to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and practices on underutilized vegetables by rural women in selected village communities in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka.
Methods: A total of 328 respondents comprising of rural women were randomly selected from four villages in Mahailluppallama irrigation block of the Mahaweli zone H in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka. Primary data were collected through face-to-face interviews using an interview schedule and also the direct observations.
Results: Seventy-nine (79) underutilized vegetable species were reported to be consumed by the respondents as a part of their normal diet. However, 20 of them were least consumed due to factors such as lack of interest among the younger generation, lack of availability, lack of awareness, and inadequate knowledge on their preparation as a food item. Women play the major role in collecting, preparing and related decision making on underutilized vegetables.
Conclusions: A considerable diversity of underutilized vegetables exist in the community. However, some of them were less consumed and were not available in adequate quantities. Measures should be taken to popularize and conserve underutilized vegetables. Documentation of information is also important for sustainable use and exploring the future potential.
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