News and knowhow for farmers

Busia start-up raises local millet farmer income through value addition

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By George Munene

Akimaa Africa is a food pro­cessing com­pany that as­sists rural mil­let farm­ers earn sus­tain­able in­comes through mil­let value ad­di­tion. The com­pany based in Busia County sources mil­let from farm­ers to pro­duce af­ford­able, nu­tri­tious, and glu­ten-free mil­let bar snacks and cakes. 

Foun­ded in 2017 by food sci­ence and tech­no­logy de­gree gradu­ate Irene Etyang, the busi­ness as well sources honey from rural West­ern Kenya bee­keep­ers. It has fur­ther still ven­tured into using sprouted mil­let, pea­nuts, and tam­ar­ind in the mak­ing of in­stant por­ridge.

The com­pany sup­ports over 100 farm­ers with high-yield­ing im­proved fin­ger mil­let vari­ety seeds.

Re­lated News: KALRO in­tro­duces mil­let yield­ing 3X tra­di­tional vari­et­ies & mar­ket­ing pro­gram

Re­lated News: Re­search­ers de­velop new drought tol­er­ant fin­ger mil­let vari­et­ies res­ist­ant to blast dis­ease and striga weed

Its food op­tions are tar­geted at health-con­scious con­sumers, selling to them dir­ectly through theirFace­book page. Mil­let is a great al­tern­at­ive to maize and wheat flour-based products as it aids in con­trolling blood sugar. The sol­uble fiber in mil­let can help re­duce the amount of “bad” cho­les­terol in the blood. Cho­les­terol is such a large risk factor for heart dis­ease, mean­ing eat­ing mil­let reg­u­larly helps keep your heart health­ier.

Mil­let cul­tiv­a­tion is gain­ing re­newed pop­ular­ity amongst farm­ers be­cause of its ver­sat­il­ity and it being easy to grow. Mil­let can be used in the mak­ing of bread, beer, cer­eals, and other dishes.

Mil­lets are drought tol­er­ant and able to be grown in arid areas. While around 4,000 liters of water pro­duces one kilo­gram of rice, a frac­tion of that can be used to grow mil­let.

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