Imani Community Development Organization is in the business of training community groups in alternative nutrition. The community is used to common food preparation and eating habits, but due to negative attitudes, they neglect traditional indigenous foods that are locally available and of high value. The objective of training is to change their attitude and perception towards such foods as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, grain amaranth, cassava, groundnuts and local vegetables through processes of adding value.
Training involves good agronomic practice, post harvesting handling, processing, presentation and utilization. The traditional way of utilizing sweet potatoes is by boiling and served with tea, porridge and groundnut sauce. Imani has trained women on how to make chapatis, mandazis, cakes, juice and other snacks from sweet potatoes, tubers juice and vegetable leaves, for the family and for sale.
It has been a long struggle to convince women to plant groundnuts on a pure stand under good agronomic practices, because farms are small. Competition of cereals, which is a staple food crop, is high and men also dictate on the space, even though they get very low production because of the striga weeds infestation. Imani have a groundnut seed bank whereby 4 kgs of seed is given to a group for demonstration, in which they return the same to be given to another group for sustainability. From this demonstration they can see that from 1/4 of an acre, under good agronomic practice, they can produce 90 kgs of dried maize worth kes 4,000, while on the same piece of land 4 kgs of groundnuts will produce kes 10,000/- of groundnuts and if processed into peanut butter realize a value of kes 20,000.
Imani has simplified it for them by buying and installing a grinding machine, so that they bring their groundnuts for grinding at a competitive price. This has enabled the families to enjoy peanut butter, which they had previously believed only belonged to the rich. They can either sell it themselves for income, or Imani can buy, process and pack it professionally and then market it for them.
Priscilla Oluoch - Imani Field Staff