In Summary

  • He makes the ‘popcorns’ from rice, wheat, ordinary maize, pearl millet, millet and sorghum under his business Gichangi Cereals and Spicers based in Embu.
  • Rice pops at 10, millet at 12, maize at nine, sorghum at 12 and wheat at 10.
  • Before popping, he says one must check for moisture content of the crop to avoid aflatoxin contamination.
  • Simuyu Augustine, a nutritionist at Outspan Hospital in Nyeri, says the products are healthy and help in increasing consumption, especially of grains like millet and sorghum but using honey to pop them may make them too sugary.

The weather is hot as the Seeds of Gold team arrives at the Wambugu Agricultural Training Centre in Nyeri for a farmers’ field day.

We find tens of farmers and exhibitors already at the event showing the eagerness with which they want to share knowledge.

Gichangi Mahinda is among those in attendance and he is hawking ‘popcorns’ made from several cereals.

A curious crowd of farmers gathers around him to get a taste of his never-seen-before ‘popcorns’.

He makes the ‘popcorns’ from rice, wheat, ordinary maize, pearl millet, millet and sorghum under his business Gichangi Cereals and Spicers based in Embu.

“How do you pop these cereals?” a farmer asks in surprise.

He explains that he acquired a pressure popping machine that goes for Sh300,000, which pops every cereal, from sorghum to wheat.

“Each grain needs different pressure to pop in the machine. Depending on the grain, some stay longer in the machine, which resembles a pot and has a pressure bar. Normally, I pop a kilo of each cereal,” he says.

So, what would make wheat, sorghum, pearl millet or millet to pop?

“The grains have a husk, thus, under medium heat they would pop but not necessarily like corn,” he says.

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