Spirulina is the most nutritious food on the planet. It is packed with protein, vitamins and minerals in an easily digestible form – which makes it incredibly good for the body. It is a food supplement that can be used by anybody at anytime. Amongst other things it is very good for people infected with the HIV virus, the malnourished, anaemic, diabetic, etc. It is very good for the elderly as it is for children. It has particular benefits for athletes and gym goers
This is a microscopic plant and is grown in a highly controlled aquatic environment that is designed to replicate its natural habitat. In fact East Africa is considered to be the natural home of Spirulina since it exists naturally in many of the Rift Valley alkaline lakes, for example, Lake Nakuru, Elmentaita, Bogoria and Crater Lake. The appearance of the water in these lakes is a deep green, this is from the Spirulina in the water. It is one of two primary foods for the flamingos, so where there are flamingos you are very very likely to find Spirulina.
Spirulina was re-discovered in the early 60’s by some French scientists at Lake Chad. Since then it has become one of the most researched foods of modern time. There are over 400 studies highlighting the vast and varied benefits of this super-food. In West Africa they have been growing Spirulina since the late ‘80s’ – due to it being a more francophone thing. In Burkina Faso the government has funded large Spirulina farms in order to offer high quality nutrition to those living with HIV in the country. In Chad there are several projects funded by the WFP which encourages the cultivation of Spirulina against malnutrition. The US is the largest consumer of Spirulina and over there exist the two of the largest Spirulina farms, one in California and the other in Hawaii.
For two years now Dunga Spirulina has developed the practical technology to grow Spirulina in the most environmentally friendly way. Indeed Spirulina cultivation is considered one of the most green forms of agriculture – requiring far less water and non fertile land to product high quality nutrition. Apart from offering this nutrition, Dunga Spirulina is training farmers on how to grow this food for their own nutrition and for income generation. As traditional forms of agriculture fail due to a warming planet, we see Spirulina as a food with great potential in the region.
What remains currently is awareness of this product. As awareness increases so will the interest in growing this food and in our opinion so will the nutritional status of people in the region. We see a great need to rethink traditional agriculture and develop technologies that can be used in the near future.
Guest posting by Jagpal Sandhu – Spirulina Producer and founder of “Dunga Spirulina”, Kisumu – Kenya