Field trial in Shanhuan,Taiwan: a quality check for freshly harvested sweet pepper.
Photo: AVRDC


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Up to 40 per cent of households in cities in developing countries grow vegetables in urban gardens for food and income. These valuable crops grown in small spaces contribute to the nutritional quality of diets; the surplus can be sold, providing income for poor families. However, great care has to be taken when harvesting and transporting these perishable crops to ensure that healthy, attractive and nutritious food reaches local markets and household tables.

Due to high levels of unemployment in cities, many families depend on growing their own produce, especially vegetables, on small plots for home consumption and for sale. Poorer families spend a larger proportion of their income on food. Thus the ability to grow their own vegetables contributes significantly to household food and income security. Nutrition security is enhanced as well; vegetables diversify diets and, more importantly, are a source of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals vital for good health (see Box at the end of the article).

AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center – develops and promotes a range of vegetables, from tropical tomatoes to traditional leafy crops, which can be grown in urban and peri-urban environments. Simple, low-cost methods to handle these valuable crops after the harvest can help urban and peri-urban vegetable growers reduce post-harvest losses and provide more and better quality vegetables at home and to local markets.

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