Amaranth crop. The seeds are processed into popped, flaked, extruded and grounded into flour. Photo courtesy.
Mitahato Education and Development Fund (MEDF), a dedicated vocational centre to nurture the roots of change in rural Kenya is offering amaranth seeds value addition training to help farmers know how to make products such as cakes, pancakes, and snacks which will see them earn extra cash as opposed to selling the seeds only.
MEDF has for the last two years supported over 40 youths to start strawberry farming which is a new venture in Ngewa, Githunguri, Kiambu County. This cost the organization about half a million.
“At the beginning we found it difficult to sell the idea of amaranth seeds value addition because the crop is widely known by Kenyan farmers as a traditional type, but given our market research and support, we have seen more farmers come on board,” said said Michael Kaburu, MEDF extension officer.
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Amaranth plant (Terere) is a plant that has been used for years as vegetable in rural areas of Kenya. Today, amaranth farming is being done in large scale due to the large nutritional value of the plant.
The plant is drought and weed resistant thus can grow in both wet and semi-Arid areas provided it gets good supply of water. Amaranth seeds are processed into popped, flaked, extruded and grounded into flour.
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Amaranth can be used in snacks, cereals and in combination with other grains and flour in baking. The multiple uses of the plant have made it to have high monetary value and it is now being grown for industrial use.
The plant matures in between two and a half and three months after planting. This means that you can have four seasons of Amaranth harvesting in a single year.
“Currently a kilo of amaranth seeds rakes Sh200 by local companies which process and sell grain amaranth products but if value-added, the products can fetch extra cash depending on the type of the product and the market,” said Kaburu.
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MEDF also promotes production of at least 20 varieties of horticultural crops and assesses the viability of their production and markets and evaluate their economic models in order to assist the youths make informed decisions in their agribusiness life.
MEDF can be reached on 0728082887