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Important Implications for Home Garden Programs in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, the average person eats just 42kg of fruit and vegetables per year. This is far below the WHO recommendation of 146kg per year. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, vital for our body. In Ethiopia, poor quality diets are now considered as one of the main underlying causes in the rise of non-communicable diseases in the country. The problem is fruits and vegetables are often too expensive and unaffordable for most. To increase the availability of fruits and vegetables, the government of Ethiopia is promoting home gardens at a large scale across the country. Ethiopian households have practised homestead gardening for centuries, but under-consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables in rural areas seems to justify scaling-up and improving this practice. This is because most small-scale “backyard” production have traditionally focused on calorie rich but nutrition poor crops – such as maize and enset (false banana) or stimulants, such as coffee or khat.