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Originating in the Americas and Europe, amaranth has been cultivated for more than 8,000 years, dating back at least to the Mayan civilization of South and Central America. It was a staple of the Aztecs and incorporated into their religious ceremonies. In the 1500’s the Spanish conquistadors prohibited amaranth production. In that area today only a limited amount of amaranth grain is grown, most of which is popped and mixed with honey to make a confection called, “alegría.” However, much of the genetic base has been maintained there because amaranth has continued to grow as a wildflower.

Amaranth consists of 60–70 species, 40 of which are considered native to the Americas. Over 400 varieties within these species are found throughout the world in both temperate and tropical climates, and fall roughly into one of four categories: grain, vegetable, ornamental or weed. Many fall into more than one. Vegetable amaranth has been used in China for over 400 years, yet is commonly found in the Caribbean and Africa; grain amaranth was cultivated and revered by the Aztecs in Mexico, the Mayas in Central America and the Inca in South America.


  1. 1983-01-01 Amaranth [Amaranthus hypochondriacus, A. cruentus (grain type) & A. tricolor (vegetable type)] is an herbaceous annual with upright growth habit, cultivated for both its seeds which are used as a grain and its leaves which are used as a vegetable or green. Both leaves and seeds contain...
  2. The cultivation of Grain Amaranths as food plants is traceable to ancient Aztec civilizations of Mexico. The Grain Amaranth species are highly variable; some experimentation with strains of available species may be necessary to find one suitable to a new area.
  3. Vegetable Amaranths are abundantly cultivated in hot humid regions of Africa, Asia, and the Carribean. Amaranthus tricolor L originated in India where a number of domesticated varieties now occur.
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    2018-07-12 This video tells the story of Grain Amaranth - its growth and use. In addition, here is alinktoa video, filmed in Uganda in 2010----with testimonials by people living with AIDS. Their testimonials have also been validated by at least one controlled health study in Kenya.
  5. 2018-08-07 Session: Africa has the capacity to feed its children affordably and cost effectively if its vast resources are well harnessed and developed bringing and end to the continents constant food shortages and the shameful food handouts from other continents which do not enjoy the same kind of...
  6. 2017-03-13 Scientists warn that global fish stocks are on the verge of collapse due to the effects of climate change and overfishing, fueling concerns of increased malnutrition. This not only translates into less fish for human consumption but, ironically, impacts aquaculture as commercial fish feed...
  7. The World Vegetable Center, as the name implies, focuses on vegetables to reduce poverty and malnutrition. Their website has numerous, helpful resources and publications. Among them are videos on how to save vegetable seed. They cover amaranth, eggplant, nightshade (see EDN 103), pumpkin and...
  8. The Amaranth Institute, a non-profit organization, includes individuals, partnerships, firms corporations or associations who deal, in whole or part, with the growing, importation, processing, grinding and distribution of amaranth seeds, vegetable amaranth and amaranth processed products. Members...
  9. All over the world local varieties of fruit, vegetables and grain are grown. Many are seemingly forgotten or are underutilized despite having outstanding nutritional or taste qualities. Some have good commercial potential and could be an excellent cash crop for a smallscale or family farmers,...
  10. 2016-06-14 Knowing the correct procedure for saving seed is a valuable skill for small-scale vegetable farmers. Saving seed allows farmers to: save money on inputs maintain local landraces and varieties build a local source of seed in areas lacking access to seed distributors exchange seed with fellow...
  11. 2018-07-16 This 2010 video presents the stories of Ugandans who have benefited from the promotion of grain amaranth for its nutritive value in combatting the symptoms of HIV/AIDS.
  12. 2015-10-06
  13. INTEGRATED APPROACH Developing a Model for a Sustainable Food System Rural family farmers work hard to produce half of the world's food, yet they make up 75% of the world's poor (FAO, 2014). We focus on the farming, consumption, and commercialization ofamaranth, a highly nutritious cereal crop...
  14. 2015-11-17 This workshop will give participants an opportunity to learn more from a evaluation done six years after finishing a 10-year promotion of amaranth initiative that World Renew spearheaded in East Africa through their partnerships, especially in Kenya and Uganda. It will go over the scope, purpose,...
  15. 2009-04-01 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...
  16. 2018-08-07 Session: In the Tanzanian population occupational context, the majority (80%) experience food insecurity and poverty, and malnutrition is a phenomenon that has for a long time remained the main cause of child mortality, stunting and the most important impediment to further economic growth of the...
  17. 2018-08-08 Session: CADS and its partners have adopted approaches such as Demonstration Platform for Agricultural Research and Technology and mainstreaming nutrition for amaranth production. To date, CADS expanded amaranth production to a total of 13 districts. Promotional activities such as product fairs,...
  18. 2015-03-26 There are perennial vegetables that are quite resilient and also highly nutritious. These vegetables can significantly improve diet, increase the body’s ability to capture the value of foods, and be incorporated into common foods. This presentation will discuss producing and using Chaya, Katuk,...
  19. 2018-08-08 Session: The session will first provide an overview of WorldVeg’s efforts in using traditional African vegetables in the region, based on its collection in Arusha, Tanzania, the largest in Africa. The overview will single out amaranth as well as traditional vegetables useful in drylands. Second,...
  20. The seeding rate is the weight of the seed planted per unit area of land for any crop. Typical seeding rates range from a few pounds per acre to over 100 lbs/acre. The crop yield is the weight of the produce from a harvested crop. In many cases, the produce is itself a seed that can be replanted....
  21. 2006-04-20 This exceptionally nutritious, high protein grain, that requires less rainfall than corn, has potential as a staple for the general population plus seems to offer special value in managing diseases such as HIV/AIDS.The Amaranth family contains more than 60 species (most of them wild) and...
  22. 1983-01-01 Amaranth [Amaranthus hypochondriacus, A. cruentus(grain type) &A. tricolor(vegetable type)] is an herbaceous annual with upright growth habit, cultivated for both its seeds which are used as a grain and its leaves which are used as a vegetable or green. Both leaves and seeds contain protein...
  23. A crop indigenous to Africa,amaranthis 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...
  24. Amaranthus is a herbaceous, annual upright and fast growing plant in the Amaranthuceae family. It consists of about 60-70 different species spread all over the world in temperate, sub-tropical and tropical climates. Grain amaranth (A. hypochondriucus and A, creuntus) is an early maturing, drought...
  25. Why grow Amaranthus crop: It requires less input to grow and can be grown by the rural poor It is easily harvested It is early maturing producing a lot of seeds/grains Highly tolerant to drought Highly nutritive with high quality proteins (lysine and methionine) and high levels of vitamins and...