PEANUTS and AFRICA
Groundnuts are a staple food in many developing countries. Also called peanuts, groundnuts are a protein rich tuber that grows well in semi-arid regions. There are two main types of groundnuts: the American groundnut(Arachis hypogaea), and the African groundnut, the Bambara nut (Voandzeia subterranea). Both are grown in Western Africa as a protein source. Groundnuts also contain sufficient quantities of carbohydrates and fats. After drying and roasting the groundnut it can be used to make flour, soup, porridge, and milk. Groundnuts are often grown by small farm holders and is considered a woman's crop in Western Africa.
Women are mobilized in agricultural groups, and their work has a tremendous impact on peanut production and ultimately their children, extended family and their income and their communities at large..
Groundnut yields in Africa are traditionally low, due to a combination of: unreliable rains, little technology available to small scale farmers, pest and disease occurrence, poor seed variety, and increased cultivation on marginal land. Political instability and non supportive small farm policies have also negatively impacted ground nut production in Western Africa. Because of these reasons, there has been an increased demand for women support groups for home gardening and farming projects.
The history of the Bambara groundnut originated in West Africa, is an extremely adaptable plant suited for hot, dry soils, and has been known to resist pests & disease. Harvesting is similar to the peanut.
Why are they important?
Peanuts nuts provide a vital source of cash income and nutritious, high protein food which could prevent child malnutrition.
Groundnut has many important nutrients and useful in the treatment of hemophilia. Also, groundnuts can cure stomatitis, prevent diarrhea, and beneficial for growing children, pregnant mothers & nursing mothers.
The groundnut is considered a Women's crop in Africa. It was originally grown by women to supplement their families diet with protein. However, groundnut production can also be a way for women to earn a cash income and participate in the economy. Consequently, increasing Women's empowerment.Women value groundnut harvests for many reasons, including: harvest profits can send children to school, provides a high energy and protein food source for their children, oil for cooking, and high quality feed for cattle. Roasted or boiled peanuts are the snack of choice in most Sub Saharan African Countries. Different versions of peanut brittle are also extremely popular. Peanut butter is offered in all neighborhoods food markets set up in large mounts on wooden stalls, and its aroma is omnipresent.
Study on home gardening projects in Senegal found that women were the more successful home gardeners than men. Income received from garden harvests allowed women to spend more and allowed them to better provide for their family's needs.
According to ICRSAT, 2001, the groundnut is mostly grown by poor small holder farmers (mainly women). Groundnut production gives an opportunity for these women to generate additional cash income from oil. Given equal access to resources and human development capital, women farmers can achieve yields equal or exceed those of men.
Technology adoption increased the workload of women farmers and expanded the employment prospects of female laborers in developing countries. Production technologies for groundnut farming created a positive impact on yields and income and helped create an informal farmer-to-farmer seed market
Groundnuts require a light sandy loam soil, and semi-arid conditions. Optimal growing time is five months of warm weather, with an annual rainfall of 20 to 40 inches or the equivalent in irrigation water. Groundnut production is dependent on land preparation, seed extraction, seeding, cultivation, harvesting, stripping and sun-drying. This process is labor intensive which can affect the productivity and quality of nuts produced. However, with the introduction of groundnut projects and simple technologies production yields can be increased.
There are several start-up small scale groundnut programs available on the web. Many of these programs include area-specific guidelines of appropriate groundnut production techniques. The greater the support and participation of women in a community project, the more successful a program will be.
Within 5 years many new groundnut varieties will be introduced leading to a significant increase in world-wide production. New varieties are disease resistant and produce 50% more than traditional groundnuts in Mali. The International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) helps increase crop productivity and food security, reduce poverty, and protect the environment in developing countries. Special emphasis is placed on groundnut since it is particularly important in the diet of the poor.
The Common Fund for Commodities with ICRISAT studied the germplasm of the groundnut of Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali. Since groundnut production is limited by diseases, viruses, and drought the germplasm was screened for sources of resistance to these constraints.
This is a delicious groundnut stew similar to the Western African version from Mali, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast.
Peanuts grow well in southern Mali and adjacent regions of the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Senegal. Peanut sauce, prepared with onions, garlic, peanut butter/paste, and vegetables like carrots, cabbage/cauliflower, can be vegetarian (the peanuts supplying ample protein) or prepared with meat, usually chicken.
Peanuts are a common ingredient of several types of relishes (dishes which accompany nshima) eaten by the tribes in Malawi and in the eastern part of Zambia, and these dishes are now common throughout both countries. In this area they are always called groundnuts.
Although India and China are the world's largest producers of peanuts, they account for a small part of international trade because most of their production is consumed domestically as peanut oil. Exports of peanuts from India and China are equivalent to less than 4% of world trade. The major producers/exporters of peanuts are the United States, Argentina, Sudan, Senegal, and Brazil. These five countries account for 71% of total world exports. In recent years, the United States has been the leading exporter of peanuts.
The major peanut importers are the European Union (EU), Canada, and Japan. These three areas account for 78% of the world's imports. Most of Canada's peanut butter is processed from Chinese peanuts. Two thirds of U.S. imports are roasted, unshelled peanuts. The major suppliers are Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Canada. The principal suppliers of shelled peanut imports are Argentina and Canada. Imports of peanut butter from Argentina are in the form of a paste and must be further processed. Other minor suppliers of peanut butter include Malawi, China, India, and Singapore.
The European Union is the largest consuming region in the world that does not produce peanuts. All of its consumption is supplied by imports. Consumption of peanuts in the EU is primarily as food, mostly as roasted-in-shell peanuts and as shelled peanuts used in confectionery and bakery products.
The average annual U.S. imports of peanuts are less than 0.5% of U.S. consumption.
Approximately 50% of all peanuts produced in the United States are grown within a 100 mi (160 km) radius of Dothan, Alabama. Dothan is home to the National Peanut Festival established in 1938 and held each fall to honor peanut growers and celebrate the harvest.
Ninety percent of India's production is processed into peanut oil. Only a nominal amount of hand-picked select-grade peanuts are exported. India prohibits the importation of all oil seeds, including peanuts.
A Short Peanut History The peanut plant probably originated in Brazil or Peru, although no fossil records exist to prove this. But for as long as people have been making pottery in South America (3,500 years or so) they have been making jars shaped like peanuts and decorated with peanuts. Graves of ancient Incas found along the dry western coast of South America often contain jars filled with peanuts and left with the dead to provide food in the afterlife. Peanuts were grown as far north as Mexico by the time the Spanish began their exploration of the New World. The explorers took peanuts back to Spain, where they are still grown. From Spain, traders and explorers took peanuts to Africa and Asia. In Africa the plant became common in the western tropical region. The peanut was regarded by many Africans as one of several plants possessing a soul.
When Africans were brought to North America as slaves, peanuts came with them. Slaves planted peanuts throughout the southern United States (the word goober comes from the Congo name for peanuts - nguba). In the 1700's, peanuts, then called groundnuts or ground peas, were studied by botanists and regarded as an excellent food for pigs. Records show that peanuts were grown commercially in South Carolina around 1800 and used for oil, food and a substitute for cocoa. However, until 1900 peanuts were not extensively grown, partially because they were regarded as food for the poor, and because growing and harvesting were slow and difficult until labor-saving equipment was invented around the turn of the century.
George Washington Carver (January 1864 – January 5, 1943), was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he is believed to have been born into slavery in Missouri in January 1864.
Carver's reputation is based on his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes, which also aided nutrition for farm families. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts. He also developed and promoted about 100 products made from peanuts that were useful for the house and farm, including cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerin. He received numerous honors for his work, including the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP.
During the Reconstruction-era South, monoculture of cotton depleted the soil in many areas. In the early 20th century, the boll weevil destroyed much of the cotton crop, and planters and farm workers suffered. Carver's work on peanuts was intended to provide an alternative crop.
He was recognized for his many achievements and talents. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a "Black Leonardo", a reference to the Renaissance Italian polymath, Leonardo da Vinci.
I love to remember my grand mother Nafissatou, making her own peanut butter on a thick long stone.
She had removed the dried skins from the nuts by throwing them gracefully in the air all at once from a large hand woven tray. The wind then had taken them away with the same grace, leaving the nuts to fall back down to a joyous rhythm.. Her arms were still strong, stronger from the joy of sharing her precious traditions with the youngest Nafissatou, in the heat of the Dakar Sun.
Fresh peanut butter!..., its taste on her finger and the radiance of her smile on her beautiful face...As I rested my head on her lap, the perfume of her (also home made)traditional incense on her Boubou (Traditional garment), subtly mixed to the aroma of these fresh limes that she liked to press, were born some of my sweetest memories...
Well!..You must use natural peanut butter in all your recipes, even try to make it yourself... stones or no stone:).... You will taste a world of difference!...I use Natural Peanut Butter only in my condiment, the best fresh ingredients and the love and respect for my Ancestors. Check the website recipes and try NAFI'S Condiments, you will escape to an exotic world that will enchant you!....