An innovative youth group in Kenya have come up with a solution for adding value to rather under-valued indigenous food crops. Matayos Self-Help Youth Group from in Busia, western Kenya, together with an engineers from Japan ,Hideki Ishigaki from the Kaplong Youth Polytechnic have developed a pop corn machine only that the catch is that it can pop more than just maize but sorghum, rice, finger millet, cowpea, soybean and Bambara groundnut amongst many legumes and grains, maintaining the same nutritious levels.
The machine simply uses high pressure from a pressure cylinder fired by gas and adds value to these ignored food stuffs. It reaches up to 10 times the atmospheric pressure vis-a-vis 2 times for the ordinary pressure cooker.
The youth then package the product and distribute locally and regionally, increasing the farmers’ productivity hence income. A bag of maize for KES 450/USD 4.50 can be popped to sell at KES 1700/USD 17, a 278% increase in income.
Furthermore the product is promoting healthy eating by many youth who love to indulge in rather unhealthy snacks like french fries, pizza e.t.c
The success of the youth group in Busia has triggered other from different parts of the country into engaging in the practice e.g. in Kitui it has been duplicated and successful.
Would you have popped brown rice or just popcorn?