Kunde

Ark of taste
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Kunde (cowpea, Vigna unguiculata) is a rich food source, and almost all parts of the plant are used in some pockets of Makueni County (in Nziu and Kibwezi Districts) in south central Kenya. The crop can be grown as either an annual or a perennial. It has a short vegetative cycle, requiring only about two months for flowering and fruiting. It is a small, creeping plant that produces more leaves when cut. Because of its creeping habit, it also acts as living mulch, protecting soil from the intense heat of the arid and semi-arid climate. The plant is a very good source of tender, dark green vegetables. Its leaves are rich in iron, vitamin E and vitamin K, and are used as a food by humans, insects, rodents, rabbits, goats, sheep, cattle and tortoises. The beans, consumed by humans and livestock, are rich in protein. For humans, they are frequently prepared in a rich stew often consumed by lactating mothers. Beans are small in size and cream colored. The bean pods, both green and dried, can be used as feed for livestock, especially during dry seasons, and increase milk production in goats and cattle. Kunde is highly valued in Makueni County for its fast growth after rains or with irrigation. The crop is disease, pest and drought resistant. It withstands harsh climactic conditions and can be produced year round when sufficiently watered, ensuring a continuous food supply for the farming family and community. Harvested seeds can be attacked by weevils, but wood ash and neem leaves or neem seed powder is used to preserve the seeds in place of chemical pesticides. Kunde is mainly grown for home consumption, though a few people sell their extra vegetable leaves when available. The main areas in which the crop is grown are Mutyamba, Kiboko, and Kithasyu, all east or southeast of Nairobi. This crop is produced almost exclusively by small-scale farmers, and the seeds are susceptible to damage from weevils if not stored properly, leaving farmers with nothing to plant the following season, and reducing the production area. Because various parts of the plant can be consumed by many different animals, if the crops are not fenced off they can also be lost to wild animals or rodents. 

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Territory

StateKenya
Region

Eastern

Other info

Categories

Legumes

Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Indigenous community:Akamba, Luo