Karatu farmers see fortune in growing pigeon peas

ARUSHA, Karatu: A STABLE market and better price for pigeon peas are attracting people to venture into farming in Karatu District in Arusha.

The price of the pigeon peas has increased threefold from 800/- a kilogramme three years ago to currently between 2,200/- and 2,400/-.

Mr Joachim Gitagno, one of trained farmers by Rikolto organisation, said the training has further increased local consumption of the pigeon peas, hence, expanding more its market in the area to amplify farmers’ income.

“The demand has gone up after schools opted to use the pigeon peas as part of their pupils’ diet after the organisation intervention to use the crop as alternative to beans,” he said recently.

The Rikolto training to the farmers aimed at changing their mind set that pigeon peas not only cash crop but also for food.

“We were not eating the pigeon peas, but after training we have made this crop as part of our meal,” Mr Gitagno stated.

The one-day training programme has built awareness over health benefits from the crop. The training involved 50 hotels, 100 primary schools and 70 women food vendors.

Rikolto Extension Officer Mr Harold Lema said they decided to conduct training after realising that many pigeon peas farmers in the country are farming the crop for business and not for local consumption.

Karatu District Nutrition Officer Rosemary Daniel said the district has continued providing education over health benefits of pigeon peas.

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