Chaya: The New Guest in Town

 

An event was organized at Tony Farm to introduce Chaya, a spinach variety, to Dire Dawa, Harar and the surrounding community representatives and Haramaya University community.

According to Dr. Wassu Mohammed, one of the researchers in this project, Ethiopia has major problems in Iron and Vitamin A deficiencies and majority of the vegetable and field crops the country produces are not drought resistant. To this end, the introduction of this vegetable crop to the Ethiopian food system has its merits to alleviate the problem of food insecurity the country faces.

Mr. Daniel Alemu, lead investigator of the project and an instructor in Haramaya Institute of Technology, gave demonstration on how to prepare the vegetable and discussed advantages of including Chaya to our tables at home.

According to Mr. Daniel it is advisable to cook the leaves for 20-25 minutes before cooking them as desired. The vegetable crop is very rich in Iron, Vitamin A and Calcium and its very nutritious nature makes it ideal for new mothers to consume.

Achieving not only food security but also nutrition security was another point discussed. The Ethiopian community should also look for food sources with high nutritious values and researchers are encouraged to conduct research activities in such areas in order to improve the living and food quality of the community.

Attendees were encouraged to take the seedlings of the vegetable crop to their homes, grow them and make the vegetable a regular on their tables. The vegetable crop is ideal to grow on hot and semi-arid areas such as Dire Dawa, Afar, Somalia, etc. It can also be used for animal feed once it has been laid on the sun for a short period of time.

“The University has given financial support to 165 projects, and research site on 13 research stations and 57 farmer training centers (FTCs) were made available for research as well as extension activities,” according to Mr. Admkew Haile, Research Facilities Directorate Director and Vice-president for Research Affairs Delegate. The fiel trial of the variety on Dire Dawa Tony Farm goes along the line of the University’s community engagement and activities and its commitment to ensure food security and improve quality of life of the community. Such projects on nutrition and nutritious foods and technology should always be encouraged and supported.

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