In Summary
  • The 29-year-old business administration graduate says the flour provides sustainable quantities of nutrients, especially for people on tight budgets, the elderly and the young, “yet it is not consumed in the right proportions”.
  • Kendi started by baking for her family before offering her products to friends.
  • She also got opportunities to showcase her skills and products at various forums, including the Devolution Conference in Kirinyaga and in Njoro, Nakuru County, during World Food Day on October 16, 2018.
  • The benefits of traditional flour are countless, said Benald Kinoti, a nutritionist and extension officer in Meru County.

Wheat is usually the first ingredient that comes to the mind when one thinks of baking. Have you ever thought of other types of flour that are equally good, healthy, nourishing and gluten-free?

Some 800 metres from Chuka town, right behind Chuka Girls, Nancy Kendi’s love for good food has pushed her to use the nutritive underutilised flours.

Kendi makes her pastries from sorghum, banana, pearl millet, cassava and banana flour. She also uses herbs and spices to season up some of her products.

The 29-year-old business administration graduate says the flour provides sustainable quantities of nutrients, especially for people on tight budgets, the elderly and the young, “yet it is not consumed in the right proportions”.

“To create an avenue for a higher nutritional intake in a semi-arid region like Tharaka-Nithi, I had to devise an appealing way to make locals take up nutrients in these foods which are readily available, but largely ignored,” she said.

Kendi started baking using the unique flour in 2016 as a way of doing away with “the usual boring way of mashing, boiling or roasting food”. She makes banana chapati, banana cake, banana crisps, banana chevdas, beetroot cake, composite cake and many other delicacies.

Kendi started by baking for her family before offering her products to friends. “Every time I saw my family and friends enjoy the snacks, I was sure they were getting the right nutrients,” Kendi explains.

She sources the flour from registered self-help groups. Upon getting the flour, Kendi works on the quantities as she has a variety of recipes.

She says many people are ignorant of the fact that traditional flour can improve their health. She learnt to bake at meetings organised by the county Agriculture department.

She also attended UN Food and Agriculture Organisation workshops at the Kaguru farm in Meru County in February.

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