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Incorporating the consumption of traditional and indigenous fruit and vegetables into National Department of Health diabetes mellitus management plan in Louwsburg

Authors K.N. MngomezuluC. Ndinda
OUTPUT TYPE: Policy briefs
Print HSRC Library: shelf number 9812578
handle 20.500.11910/19683
Existing literature suggests that the consumption of fruit and vegetables is not only important for general health, but also critical for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). However, due to socioeconomic reasons, the consumption of fruit and vegetables at household level in South Africa is a challenge. Fruit and vegetables are unaffordable because they are more expensive to farm when compared with food that is farmed to be processed ??? hence those who farm them tend to sell them at increased prices. Also, there is limited funding provision to support smallholder farmers that have an interest in growing fruit and vegetables in South African villages. Our argument in this policy brief is that policies are important in providing guidelines on ensuring adequate consumption of fruit and vegetables with the view to safeguard against NCDs. However, there is no alignment of existing policies on ensuring access to fruit and vegetables that are sufficient for managing specific NCDs with which some South African community members have been diagnosed. In Louwsburg, a small town in KwaZulu-Natal with a small population of just over 4 000 people, residents rely on mainly vegetable and maize farming as the primary economic activities. Under such conditions, the consumption of traditional fruit and vegetables can be used to manage diabetes mellitus, as it is the most prevalent NCD affecting the small population in the town. Due to their high nutritional value, low water requirements, and adaptiveness to poor soil conditions, traditional fruit and vegetables should be the key foods to be considered for the management of diabetes in this predominantly rural town, where people cannot afford to consistently purchase mainstream fruit and vegetables from shops.