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AMAZING AMARANTH: A leafy green, a grain, and a great addition to farms and diets

Hardy and nutritious amaranth lines and food practices to improve nutrition in East Africa

Reaching for the sky, this amaranth plant is one of the many selected for breeding improved varieties at WorldVeg Eastern and Southern Africa.

This project aims to develop hardy and nutritious amaranth lines and food practices to improve nutrition in East Africa.

Amazing Amaranth will broaden and intensify the use of amaranth germplasm for developing improved varieties, focus on nutritional content as a breeding objective, and form close collaborations with development partners and value chain actors to maximize the impact of new amaranth varieties. Project activities should result in increased amaranth production and consumption to benefit smallholder farm households and consumers.

Amaranth can be consumed as a green vegetable or a grain. The crop is easy to grow, heat- drought- and salt-tolerant, and has few diseases. The grain is protein-rich (>16%), with balanced amino acid content. Leaves are high in micronutrients, including vitamin C, pro-vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorus.

Amaranth is a C4 plant – it photosynthesizes efficiently and can reduce respiration, and so has a high tolerance for heat and drought. These qualities are becoming more important as climates change.

Outputs focus on five key areas:

Diversity: Establish a biodiverse amaranth germplasm set, and identify favorable traits

Cultivars for Scaling: Choose farmer-preferred nutritious and stress-tolerant lines for scaling through multilocation trials

Nutrition: Identify low-oxalate amaranth, develop nutritionally improved recipes and nutrition messages

Training: Strengthen research capacity of local partners

Impact Assessment: Impact of improved amaranth cultivars evaluated

Organization Project lead, genomics
Roland Schafleitner, WorldVeg Taiwan

Amaranth germplasm characterization
Tsvetelina Stoilova, WorldVeg Tanzania
Mary Abukutsa, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)

Breeding and multilocation trials
Fekadu Dinssa, WorldVeg Tanzania
Ruth R. Minja, Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute
Emmanuel Laswai, HORTI Tengeru
Mizambw, Tanzania Agricultural Seed Agency
Michael Ngugi, Simlaw Seeds Company Ltd

Nutrition
Ray‐yu Yang, WorldVeg Taiwan
Mary Abukutsa, JKUAT

Pathology
Srini Ramasamy, WorldVeg Taiwan
Wubetu Bihon Legesse, WorldVeg Mali

Training
Ralph Roothaert, WorldVeg Tanzania

M&E
Pepijn Schreinemachers, WorldVeg Thailand
Justus Ochieng, WorldVeg Tanzania

Communication
Maureen Mecozzi, WorldVeg Taiwan

Project Management
Jui‐Kai Li, WorldVeg Taiwan

Start date: 1 March 2018
End date: 28 February 2021

Project countries

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