AITEC: Vegetable Production
Vegetables are the important sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants providing human health benefits. Regular intake of recommended amount of vegetables leads to sound health. Vegetable production provides a promising economic opportunity through income generation and employment opportunities. Vegetable cultivation is also a key component of farm diversification strategies. At AITeC we emphasize proper agronomy for vegetable production while promoting the concept of EATING THE RAINBOW. Vegetables have the potential to create greater income and to improve the nutrtion of the region!
EAT THE RAINBOW
Simply put, eating the rainbow involves eating fruits and vegetables of different colors every day. Plants contain different pigments, or phytonutrients, which give them their color. Different-colored plants are linked to higher levels of specific nutrients and health benefits.
While eating more vegetables and fruit is always a good idea, focusing on eating a variety of colors will increase your intake of different nutrients to benefit various areas of your health.
The beautiful colors you see in fruits and vegetables is from antioxidant phytonutrients called carotenoids and flavonoids.
- Carotenoids have been shown to decrease the risk of disease, particularly certain cancers and eye diseases. The most-studied carotenoids are beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
- Anthocyanins are flavonoids responsible for the red-purple-blue colors found in berries, currants, grapes, leafy vegetables, grains, and root veggies.
RED – Help reduce cancer risk, boost your immune system, and enhance brain and heart health. This is because they contain compounds like anthocyanidins and lycopene: apples, beets, red bell peppers, cranberries, cherries, grapes, plums, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, and tomatoes.
ORANGE – Help boost your immune system and optimize eye and skin health. This is because they contain compounds like beta-carotene and curcuminoids: apricots, orange bell peppers, carrots, mangos, oranges, pumpkin, sweet potato, and turmeric.
YELLOW – Are anti-inflammatory and promote eye, skin, brain and heart health. This is because they contain compounds like lutein and zeaxanthin: golden apples, pears, bananas, yellow bell peppers, lemons, pineapple, and summer squash.
GREEN – Are anti-inflammatory, support your liver, and are vital for brain and heart health. This is because they contain compounds like chlorophyll and isoflavones: asparagus, avocados, green bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, edamame, leafy greens, limes, and zucchini.
BLUE & PURPLE – Are anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and are good for the brain! This is because they contain compounds like anthocyanidins and resveratrol: blueberries, blackberries, cabbage, purple cauliflower, eggplant, grapes, plums, and prunes.
WHITE & TAN – Anti-inflammatories, plus they support a healthy liver, and optimize hormone health. This is because they contain compounds like allicin and tannins: apples, cauliflower, coconut, dates, garlic, ginger, chickpeas, peanuts, mushrooms, onions, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, tahini, and whole grains.
Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture
AITeC farms focus on producing fruits and vegetables because they are so important for nutritional security and with the raising awareness of nutrition, vegetables are a great economic opportunity.
AITeC focuses on improved horticulture agronomy for greater productivity. Technologies are required to help solve the challenges faced by farmers. Solutions related to irrigation technology, protected agriculture, seedling development, postharvest solutions and mechanization need to be implemented and enhanced. New technologies must be accompanied by proper guidance and knowledge-building efforts in order to increase the capacity of the agricultural infrastructure and to develop the local professionals.
The AITeC farms are a mechanism for improved nutrition through implementation of nutrition sensitive agriculture, The AITEC farms introduce and demonstrate new crop varieties, fertilizers, drip irrigation, water conservation and agro-technical methods that can boast production and improve the supply of nutritious vegetables to the region.
Furthermore, AITeC offers various training programs in order to promote and disseminate the knowledge.
Technologies for Improved Vegetable Production
AITeC Implements a variety of technologies that are validated and shown to be relevant for the local agricultural ecosystem.
AITeC further researches and constantly seeks new technologies which can be relevant.
Horticulture Training Programs
Current training modules provide basic agricultural education as well as advanced training in specific fields. The trainings allow participants to collaborate in long term research and understand the effects of advanced agronomy and methods for sustainable, advanced agriculture.
Professional training programs offer 5 day training in various subjects such as irrigation, fruit trees, seedling development, fertilization and plant nutrition, mechanization, Crop specific agronomy, protected agriculture, nutrition-sensitive agriculture and more.