Kenyan farmers turn to grain amaranth
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CTA. 2005. Kenyan farmers turn to grain amaranth. Spore 119. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48023
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore119.pdf
Grain amaranth (Amaranthus hybridus) offers the prospect of substantially increasing food output in dryland areas of Kenya, according to a local NGO, Strategic Poverty Alleviation Systems (SPAS)...
Grain amaranth (Amaranthus hybridus) offers the prospect of substantially increasing food output in dryland areas of Kenya, according to a local NGO, Strategic Poverty Alleviation Systems (SPAS). Until recently, amaranth was regarded as a vegetable for the poor, but increasingly, the grain is being planted by Kenyan farmers. The Nairobi-based SPAS is promoting grain amaranth cultivation in partnership with churches and village committees. Grain amaranth produces higher yields than other grains; it grows in poor soil and is drought, pest and disease resistant, making it less time consuming, less costly and more environment-friendly than other grains which require pesticides. Amaranth also has medicinal properties. It is exceptionally high in lysine, a critical amino acid and has proved beneficial in the management of HIV/AIDs and other debilitating diseases, helping patients to regain their energy. Grain amaranth has a gestation period of only 45 to 75 days and requires, on average, only one-third of the water used by other grains in similar growing conditions. Amaranth flour has a pleasant nutty taste, and has the advantage of being non-glutinous. Grain amaranth is a nutritional powerhouse , says Linus Ndonga of SPAS. He believes that amaranth could sustainably and efficiently improve nutrition in dryland areas. SPAS has supplied certified seeds for planting to groups of women trained in grain amaranth production. In one drought-hit area, Maragwa, where other grains failed, amaranth yielded between 800-1,000 kg per acre. Ndonga claims grain amaranth could feed twice as many people from the same area of land. It has proved to be a breakthrough in the fight against food insecurity. The challenge remains to incorporate it in the list of Kenyan staple foods. Strategic Poverty Alleviation Systems PO Box 7795-00200 Nairobi Kenya Email: email@example.com