Unknown to many, some African nightshades, including Solanum scabrum and Solanum villosum are edible and very nutritious with medicinal and industrial value. The increasing concerns on narrowing food diversity and the recognition of the potential role of vegetables in combating micronutrient deficiencies, call for renewed research interest in underutilized nutritious vegetables such as those of the Solanaceae family.
There is therefore need to determine and document the micronutrient and bioactive components of these plants, as well as establish systems for human intervention and social economics studies.
Seed systems remain an important aspect of improving crop production and is an invaluable component of enhancing the utilization of African solanaceous crops. Relevant stakeholders in seed production, seed markets, quality management and regulation, are being identified and optimum seed management conditions determined for the benefit of the producers and consumers.
Beyond the assumption that many local communities have been utilizing these plants for a long period of time; can we also demonstrate that there is real demand for them in both formal and informal markets? Are there any known product development efforts in the region and or elsewhere? What are the post-harvest and industrial applications of these crops? What are the consumer preferences and how can those preferences be linked to crop improvement?