Container gardens to meet vegetable needs during dry season for reproductive age women and their children in northern Ghana
This article in the Offical Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) investigates the feasibility of producing widely consumed iron rich vegetables using container gardens during the dry season in Ghana. These container gardens can help to overcome limited irrigation capacity and access to land. The study also investigates the feasibility of generating income to sustain the garden and to purchase micronutrient rich foods. In northern Ghana there is a high burden of malnutrition and notably endemic iron deficiency anemia which worsen during the prolonged dry season when staple nutrient-rich vegetables, cereals and legumes/pulse are limited. In the trial fifty five women from two different communities were recruited and each community received twenty containers. The containers were mainly used for iron rich hibiscus sabdariffa production but also for income-generating cabbage production. Groups were given training on container gardening by an experienced gardener. Results show that one container is capable of providing one mother-child pair at least three hibiscus meals per week and income from one container for cabbage could meet their monthly needs for iodized salt and fish consumption. The authors argue that container garding could be able to provide hibiscus sabdariffa in the dry season, provide dietary iron and income adequate enough to purchase iodized salt and dry fish.