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Introduction of high-yielding bean varieties to enhance government nutrition

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The importance of iron and zinc in human nutrition has seen governments move toward introducing high-yielding bean varieties.

Through the Kenya Agriculture and Nutrition Strategy (2020-2024), the government will strengthen national food chains and community production to preserve access to safe, diverse and nutritious food by retaining food grains for cooking. focus on ensuring

Scientists are now urging Kenyans to consume more beans rich in iron and zinc to combat malnutrition.

As a result, the government has come up with bean varieties with high zinc and iron values, such as Nyota, Faida, Angaza and Cheupe, developed by the University of Nairobi, and varieties like Nyota are now available through the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). available).

Calling it hidden hunger, Beatrice Kiage, a nutrition associate at the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), is working with KARLO to reach more consumers, especially children and expectant mothers. We’ve created over 40 bean recipes to reach you. Affected by malnutrition.

According to the latest Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, 26% of children under the age of five are malnourished, stunted or too short for their age. More than 1 in 10 of her children is underweight in this country, equivalent to 11%.

Experts are concerned about zinc and iron deficiencies, which contribute to high levels of stunting, and introduced good bean recipes that appeal to children to expand bean adoption, Dr. Kiage said. It is time to use methods such as

Dr. Kiage, who spoke at a farmer’s field day about upscaling iron- and zinc-rich beans and introducing different recipes from beans to farmers and consumers, learned some time ago in Kiambu, Meru and Nyeri counties formative He said he conducted research to find some barriers and gaps in bean consumption.

“Our research found that one of the reasons consumers avoid eating beans is because of gas, but it is especially important for children to avoid eating ‘gizari’ or just beans. Then I realized it was also because it was getting boring,” she noted.

In collaboration with KALRO, Dr. Kiage developed 40 bean recipes that appeal to modern people and children, and improvised various cooking recipes using beans to reduce the risk of iron and zinc micronutrient deficiencies. said it was dealt with.

“Foods such as kebabs, donuts, cakes and biscuits can be made from the beans and this is not only acceptable to children, but also ensures the adoption and consumption of beans. , we are promoting these recipes to the local people where they are grown,” she explained.

Dr. Kigami explained that since you can eat beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is never boring to use beans as a cheap, widely consumed and interesting means.

The nutritionist also revealed that not only did many people know that beans are rich in protein during their research, but they also noticed other benefits.

“For diabetics, beans are important because they stabilize blood sugar levels. They are good for cardiovascular health because they have fiber that lowers cholesterol. They control cancer and weight management, and are good for cognitive development. We also deal with the disease (NCD),” she explained.

For her part, Lydia Kirimi, a nutritionist who works for Kieni West in Muguda Ward, on the Ramria site, said she trains farmers on new recipes they are adopting and testing.

“Today, we’ve shared nine recipes: three chapattis, donuts and kebabs, all made from high-yielding beans,” she said.

According to Kirimi, farmers have realized the importance of this technology and realized that they can do many things with beans, and some even want to start a business with new recipes.

Stakeholders should promote these recipes by training farmers and educating them on the value of zinc and iron in beans. Farmers who want to try their hand at business can do so by showcasing unique recipes, but consumers must accept the recipes, understand their value, and introduce them to their children.

The process of cooking the various recipes is simple, just pre-cook the beans and dry them at home, but for larger batches, they can be ground in a large mill.

Meanwhile, an iron- and zinc-rich bean recipe booklet called Ziron-pulse, which promotes bean consumption and adoption in a variety of ways, is provided by extension workers community nutritionists and community health volunteers to provide step-by-step instructions to communities. It’s designed to. Households on how to prepare and consume green beans using different recipes.