Archive for August, 2013

One mans’ meat another mans’ poison

How the food is prepared determines a lot the preference of food in certain regions. For instance the communities who put ash in milk might not be viewed in good faith by other communities who normally take pure milk. Also some communities are rich in recipes while others still use the basic recipes for instance in the preparation of pumpkins, some community boil them and consume them. This has resulted to some people disliking the pumpkin, not because pumpkins are bad per se but due to the preparation methods. Hence some communities go a step in value addition of pumpkin by making pumpkin and seed flour ,which is then used to make soups, chapatti, maandazi, seed flour is rich in minerals especially zinc which is very important in keeping men very potent.

Lessons for village women

Under the food security project in Salabani Location in Marigat district which is supported by Mani Tese and implemented by NECOFA, village women were trained alternative methods of cooking pumpkin and Lablab beans (Njahi).

How food is prepared gives it the taste and its consumption should be a pleasurable moment. The morning of 27th July, 2013 saw more than 20 women from Longiron and Lekiricha benefitting from the culinary lessons.

The three recipes

The eager women arrived early, which is not the case in many meetings held in the village where the community arrives very late and sometimes don’t. They carried with them cooking pots,
utensils, charcoal and water. After a gathering of about 7 women, Monica who was the facilitator started by explaining in details the importance of value addition in pumpkin and other foods that are less consumed but have high nutritional values.

Recipes of that day included; lablab stew, pumpkin soup and pumpkin chapatti

Someone should ask as to why the women in Salabani were being trained how to cook chapatti pumpkin and the rest. This is to demonstrate to the women that that simple crop product like pumpkin which is neglected could be used to serve many people to their satisfaction for instance one pumpkin was used by 28 people who were there. Also training women on culinary lessons demonstrated to them that they should embrace diverse food apart from meat and milk which is believed in the community to be ‘real food’

The culinary lessons had an impact and have become the talk of the village in the past few weeks; women who were there still in disbelief while those who missed the occasion wishing they had been there.

Recipes:

1)       Pumpkin chapatti

·         The ingredients includes; pumpkin, wheat flour and cooking oil.

·         Preparation method;

o    Peel the pumpkin and chop it into cubes and boil it till soft

o    Mash the pumpkin into soft paste and add it into a mixing bowl/sufuria

o    Mix with wheat flour to make dough while adding little oil

o    Knead the dough and roll it into small balls of equal sizes

o    Roll it out into round shapes using rolling pin

o    Cook each chapatti on a well oiled pan until golden brown

It could be served with lablab stew

2)       Lablab stew

·         Ingredients to cook lablab stew includes: 3kgs lablab beans, 2large onions, 3tomatoes, dhania/coriander, 3tb oil, green bananas

·         Preparation method

o    Pre-boil lablab beans

o    Peel the onion and cut it vertically

o    Mix oil and onions and wait till the onion turns brown

o    Add the peeled green bananas

o    Add the lablab beans and little water

o    Add tomatoes after the mixture boils

o    When the food is nearly cooked add dhania

o    The stew is ready when a delicious thick stew is observed

The stew is served with pumpkin chapatti

3)       Pumpkin  soup

·         Ingredients includes; pumpkin, dhania, onion, tomatoes, cooking oil

·         Preparation methods

o    Peel the pumpkin and chop it into cubes

o    Boil it till soft

o    Mash the pumpkin till you obtain a soft paste

o    Chop the onions and add oil on the cooking pot. Do not let the onions turn brown

o    Add the mashed pumpkin paste and stir

o    Press the tomato to have its water and seed mix with the content in the pot

o    Stir and add dhania

o    Add water and keep stirring till the mixture is read

o    The soup is served when it is still hot

 

 

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THE NAKURU NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL SHOW 2013

Theme: Enhancing Technology in Agriculture and Industry for food security and National Growth

The objective of exhibiting at the show was to take advantage of newly established county to share ideas and experiences with other stakeholders.

In the 5 days event, Slow Food Central rift Convivium and Necofa in collaboration with other partners had the chance to showcase their products and programmes besides exchanging new ideas. Notably on the stand were presidia products from Lare pumpkin and Mau stinging nettle.The farmers were able to showcase their produce while the schools showcased the activities they are undertaking in gardening and environmental conservation.

It was an excellent opportunity for the exhibitors, show goers and various stakeholders to interact gain insights into new trends, technologies and methods in agriculture, industry, trade and other related fields. Lot of information, demonstrations, technology transfers and important contacts were available from the many stands of exhibitors.

Exhibitions by Necofa were geared towards achieving sustainable food security through increased productivity and value addition on indigenous agricultural products for a healthy nation as well as improved environmental conservation. Farmers working with Necofa had an opportunity to showcase their indigenous products which included; Ogiek pure natural honey from Mau Forest, Mau stinging nettle by Utugi Self Help Group, stevia natural sugar, mixed porridge flour with several ingredients namely: stinging nettle powder, sweet potatoes, oats, maize, groundnuts, barley, amarantha, brush millet, finger millet and sorghum. Nganoini Self Help Group from Lare exhibited pumpkin, Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed flour and pumpkin flesh flour. There were variety of foods prepared from these products, among them were: chapatti and mandazi from pumpkin flour and stinging nettle, porridge from pumpkin flour and stinging nettle, pumpkin juice and mukimo from the stinging nettle, millet Ugali,indigenous vegetables and Mursik from the kalenjins. Other products for exhibition were the hyax organic fertilizer, products from Molo wool project by Karunga Women Group, necklaces and bangles made by Sachangwan secondary school environmental club members.

There was much to be learnt from the stand which seemed to attract an extremely huge number of people comprising of all races and ages coming to see products and learn more about our organization .All were able to appreciate the nutritional and health benefits of our indigenous agricultural products leading to a high demand for the products as well as our ready prepared foods. Many recommendations were made especially on establishment of more distribution outlets for our products in Nakuru County for continuous supply and also to come up with more indigenous food products.

Celebrating World Environment Day June 5th 2013.

The United Nations General Assembly during the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972), declared the 5th of June of every year to commemorate World Environment Day (WED). On that day, each Member State is supposed to reflect on efforts put in place at national level with regards to protection of the environment. It is also a day for each Member State to reaffirm her commitment to sustainable environmental management

The World Environment Day is always celebrated under one global theme provided by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations was Think.Eat.Save.  Think.Eat.Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your footprint. By celebrating World Environment Day, we remind ourselves and others of the importance of caring for our environment. So think before you eat and help save our environment!

It is a day for reminding humanity the importance of the environment and their responsibility towards maintaining its sustainability and quality. Celebrating World Environment Day is about the inspirational power of individual actions for positive change, to guarantee secure, clean and healthy environment for all.

The National venue for World Environment Day activities was at Kengen grounds in Naivasha District. The selection of Kengen was based on its relevance to the national theme, given that the district is experiencing high environmental degradation rate, diminishing fish stock in L. Naivasha and forest cover, high population growth, and alarming changes in people’s lifestyles especially within the fishing communities, among others.

People in Peril association sponsored community members engaged in the project to decrease degradation of Mau Ecosystem to participate in the event and showcase their contribution towards healthy food and clean environment. Other community groups were sponsored by Network for Ecofarming in Africa and Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. The communities showcased their traditional food dishes, and explained on the importance of consuming our local products and producing our food in an environmentally friendly way. The theme encourages us to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices we make and empowers one to make informed decisions to reduce food waste, save money, minimize the environmental impact of food production and force food production processes to become more efficient; hence enhancing sustainable development for the present and future generations.

In accordance with this year’s national theme, the focus of activities to celebrate World Environment Day were on uplifting people’s mindset and understanding of food choices, processes and footprint, as well as promoting sound environment management practices to save our environment and natural resources.