Strengthening Food Security with Grain Amaranth Production
A crop indigenous to Africa, amaranth is highly versatile—it grows easily and prolifically in the humid tropics, survives in high altitudes and is a well-known “drought crop” that thrives in hot and dry weather. In Uganda, there are over 60 varieties of amaranths (locally known as dodo) but most of these are eaten as leafy vegetables yet other varieties are just fed to animals and others are regarded as weeds.
In the past two years, Access for Action Uganda (ACFA), a local nongovernment organization operating in Wakiso district and Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) has been promoting the production of grain amaranth. This is one of the fastest growing amaranth varieties with a maturity period of only 75 days, as compared to other grain crops, such as maize, millet, and sorghum whose maturity period is between 115–120 days.