Read full article By Agatha Ngotho @ Star Photo Credit: Agatha Ngorho

This has been attributed to the need for conventional utilisation and as new alternatives for commercial use in food and feed.

In September 2018, the government drafted guidelines and standards to govern the blending of maize and wheat flour by millers.

The draft sought to have maize and wheat flour blended with sorghum, millet, cassava and sweet potato, to improve nutrition through the under-utilised high-value foods.

The demand for sorghum and millet in many African countries including Kenya is rising.

Eric Manyasa attributed the rise to the need for conventional utilisation and as new alternatives for commercial use in food and feed, malting emerge.
Manyasa said this will also help in climate change mitigation as they are drought-tolerant crops.

The agronomist spoke to the Star at a field day in Kalro–Kiboko.

The field day was under the auspices of a consortium of grains seed industry members from East and Southern Africa keen to evaluate sorghum and pearl millet hybrid parents.

Manyasa said sorghum and millets grain demand is expected to rise in Kenya once the flour blending policy is actualised.

In September 2018, the government drafted guidelines and standards to govern the blending of maize and wheat flour by millers.

The draft sought to have maize and wheat flour blended with sorghum, millet, cassava and sweet potato, to improve nutrition through the under-utilised high-value foods.

The standard indicated maize flour is blended with cassava, millet and sorghum while wheat flour is blended with sorghum, cassava and sweet potatoes.

The guidelines suggested that each flour sold should have a 10 per cent minimum content of the under-utilised but high nutrient crops like sorghum, cassava and sweet potatoes.

Former Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri had said the maize flour blending initiative will create a market for the crops used in blending, increase dietary diversity and contribute to increased micro-nutrient intake.

He said millet does well in lower Eastern and West Pokot, while sorghum and cassava do well in Nyanza and Western.

Manyasa said efforts are ongoing by the private sector to develop hybrids to fit in the highlands of the Rift Valley to respond to high grain demand, especially for brewing and animal feed value chains.

“Private companies in India, South Africa and Zambia have also expressed interest in investing in hybrid sorghum and pearl millet in East and Southern Africa,” he said.

“This will help tap into the opportunities arising from the rising sorghum and pearl millet demand and as an option for climate change mitigation.”

Manyasa said ICRISAT together with Egerton University has released high breed sorghum that Kenya Breweries has embraced because of its best malting qualities.

However, the biggest challenge is the delay in the rollout of the seed system.

Currently, Kenya Breweries is using between 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes of sorghum grain a year.

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Posted on

May 4, 2022

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