Amaranth

INTRODUCTION

Amaranth local names are Mchicha (Swahili), Terere (Kikuyu), Lidodo (Luhya), Ododo (Luo), Kelichot (Kipsigis), W’oa (Kamba), Emboga (Kisii), Kichanya (Taita) and Doodo (Luganda). Amaranth is an herbaceous annual belonging to the family Amaranthaceae with green or red leaves and branched flower stalks (heads) bearing small seeds, variable in colour from cream to gold and pink to shiny black. Amaranth can be used as a high-protein grain or as a leafy vegetable. The seeds are eaten as a cereal grain.

PRODUCTION

Varieties A. tricolor, A. Caudatus, A. Cruentus
Seed Rate Broadcast 0.5 to 1.0 g/m2
Fertilizer Rate 50-100kgs/ha of DAP and 50-100kgs/ha of CAN
Planting Spacing Plant to plant at 5 cm and row to row 10 cm apart
Husbandry Amaranth requires thorough land preparation. Amaranth is planted either by direct seeding or transplanting. Application of fertiliser results in higher yield.
Pest & Diseases Pest Name Symptoms Control
Aphids Curly Leaves Spray with Neemroc® or Ash
Damping-off Seed rot, Plant wilt. Avoid over watering.
Maturity Duration 1.5 Months
Climatic Conditions Grow well in 0 – 2400 m altitude. The different species may suit different altitudes. Thrives well in temperature range of 22-30°C but maintain 15 to17°C during germination. Amaranth grows best in loam or silty-loam soils and can tolerate a soil pH of 4.5 to 8.
Harvesting First harvest is at a plant height of 30 cm. Plants may be harvested at once or leaves and tender shoots maybe harvested several times. With multiple harvests, leaves and shoots are picked at 2 to 3 week intervals.
Post Harvest and Storage Seeds are store in a cool dry place. Leaves are store in an open aerated space.
Growing Regions Eastern, Nyanza and Western
Expected yields 20 – 30 tons per hectare

PROCESSING

Processing Seeds ground into flour.

MARKETING

Place Marketed locally. Seeds are exported.
Price Kshs 50 per kg

CONSUMPTION

Products / By Products Amaranth flour, Amaranth popcorn. Leaves are sold as Vegetables
Nutritional value – per 100 g / % Daily Values The leaves are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A, B and C, but fairly low in carbohydrates. Grains are rich in protein.

FACTS & FIGURES

100,000 hectares are under Amaranth farming in China.

BUSINESS CASE

Income Per Hectare: Kshs 1,000,000 (20,000kgs * 50/-)Cost per Hectare: Kshs. 300,000 (30% of Income)NET:    Kshs. 700,000 (70% of Income).

Break Even Yield (Where Cost=Income): = 6000 kgs per hectare.

Income Frequency: Thrice per year.




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