ASSESSMENT OF NUTRIENT AND ANTI-NUTRIENT COMPOSITION OF SOME INDIGENEOUS GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES IN NIGERIA
Native vegetables are also sometimes referred to as wild vegetables or plants whose leaves, roots, or fruits are edible and used as vegetables by rural and urban populations as a result of tradition, custom, and habit. Indigenous vegetables are typically grown in areas with a temperate climate (Towns and Shackleton, 2018). The young growth points and the tender leaves of the plant are the parts of the plant that are used in the preparation of vegetable dishes for the vast majority of species. Petioles and, in some instances, younger, more tender stems are also included; however, more mature, woodier stems are thrown away (Redzic, 2006; Rensburg et al., 2004). These vegetables are consumed in large quantities, particularly during times of natural disasters and famines when the cultivation of other vegetables is not possible. Vegetables that are either domesticated or grown wild in regions with disturbed soils or agricultural activity are considered to be indigenous vegetables (Assan, 2014). The wild varieties are those that grow in their natural habitat, which is the wilderness. On the other hand, the semi-wild varieties, also known as semi-cultivated varieties, are those that are protected because they grow near homes or in home gardens (Venter, Rensburg, Vorster, Heever, and Zijl, 2007).
Indigenous leafy vegetables are typically grown at a subsistence level and are more prevalent in rural areas. This is because urban populations have greater access to supermarkets. Indigenous leafy vegetables are still generally regarded as weeds by researchers and extension personnel. These individuals also criticize farmers for failing to keep this weed population under control, which results in this essential food being labeled as not being worthy of the space it occupies in the fields (Mayekiso and Mditshwa, 2017). Because they are easily able to adapt to harsh or difficult environments, indigenous vegetables may have the potential to make a positive contribution to the global food production system (Maseko et al., 2017). The consumption of these indigenous vegetables has decreased as a direct result of the widespread availability of exotic vegetables. There has been a significant decrease in the availability of native green leafy vegetables, which has been caused in part by an excessive cultivation of field crops, a change in habitat, as well as chemical eradication of wild vegetable populations (Mathaba, 2017). Indigenous Leafy Vegetables play an important role in the food security strategies of many rural households, and their utilization and production fall under the purview of the more senior women in those households (Vorster, Stevens, and Steyn, 2008).