African indigenous vegetables (AIVs) offer a unique opportunity for addressing food and nutrition security to many households in Kenya. They are consumed alongside staple diets amongst many households in Kenya. Until recently, they were regarded as a poor man’s diet and largely ignored by policymakers and researchers in favour of other crops.
The vegetables are rich in macro- and micro-nutrients and possess bioactive compounds with antioxidant potentials, making them very suitable for food and nutrition security. Production of AIVs is largely by smallholders in Kenya. Recently, the promotional campaigns by research institutions and public agencies have resulted in increased demand for the AIVs, especially among urban consumers. This presents a huge and diversified market outlet in urban areas where smallholders can participate in higher margin value chains, including supermarket outlets in Kenya.
However, access to and participation in higher margin value chains is not merely about production, but also how smallholders gain entry or upgrade into the networks that form such value chains. Based on an exploratory multiple case study, this study comprehensively maps out chain actors and their activities, assesses the coordination and governance structures that influence participation in the AIV value chains in Kenya.