This article is from ECHO Asia Note #1

Based on the experiences of CRWRC and its collaborating partnering organizations in East Africa, the introduction of grain and vegetable amaranths shows real potential for the highlands of Southeast Asia. Grain amaranth should be seen and managed as a high protein nutritional supplementary crop to compliment the Southeast Asian staple crop of rice. Given the high incidence of malnutrition in some of the upland rice-dominant areas of Southeast Asia (e.g., close to 50% stunting among children in northeastern Laos), having the nutritional supplement of even a small amount of grain amaranth in the daily diet could be a great help. For example, a study in Mexico found that as little as 20 grams of ground amaranth flour per day per child (approximately 2 tablespoons) made a significant difference in child growth.

The fact that grain amaranth is highly drought resistant, once established, means that it has potential as a relay or sole crop that could be grown towards the end of the rainy season in Southeast Asia and thereby extend the productivity of the growing season. However, successful adoption for self consumption by farmers will likely require methodical training and support to both men and women in the farm family. This is due to its photoperiodic sensitivity (i.e. flowering is triggered by shortening day lengths), the fact that the tastes/cooking methods of the leaves (but not of the grain) are known to people, and to farmers' lack of knowledge about the best methods for growing the grain types. On the other hand, a big advantage for grain amaranth adoption is that the taste of the grain is fairly neutral, slightly nutty, and mixes well with other grains, including rice. At the same time the open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API and mixes well with other grains, including rice. At the same time the consumption of amaranth leaves-from either grain varieties or vegetable varieties is likely to occur more rapidly than grain consumption. Although this will have a favorable nutritional impact it will not be as great as the consumption of the grain.