Utilization of bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) for sustainable food and nutrition security in semi-arid regions of Zimbabwe

Juliet Mubaiwa, Vincenzo Fogliano, Cathrine Chidewe, Evert Jan Bakker, Anita R. Linnemann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) is an indigenous legume crop, cultivated by subsistence farmers throughout sub-Saharan countries. Research findings indicate that the crop has great nutritional and agronomic potential, but it remains scientifically neglected. A baseline study was conducted in seven districts in semi-arid regions of rural Zimbabwe to gather knowledge on current production and utilization of bambara groundnut, assess its role in providing sustainable food and nutrition security for rural populations and determine priorities for follow-up research. Results revealed a variety of bambara groundnut processing techniques, which included boiling, soaking, roasting and milling across the surveyed districts. Reported constraints to processing and consumption included long cooking time, difficulties with milling and high firewood and water requirements. Fifty to eighty percent of respondents in all districts consumed bambara groundnut once or twice weekly from August to December. Preferred consumer attributes were taste, the satiating effect, nutritional benefits or a combination of these. Current, culturally acceptable processing techniques need improvement to support sustainable bambara groundnut processing while optimising nutrient bio-accessibility. Ultimately, community resilience to food and nutrition insecurity can be promoted by exchange of bambara groundnut processing knowledge amongst the production areas, involving the different stakeholders in the food supply chains.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0204817
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018


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