Opuntia is an invasive plant that has wrecked havoc upon the local community but has now found good use by the women. Several nutritional tests by University of Nairobi scholars have established that the syrup can be used for various products. The syrup is currently used on a pilot test to prepare tea (beverages with hot water and sugar) and as an ingredient in fruit cocktails (Drunken monkey and Twala twister) in the tourist lodges. The fruit is also usually eaten raw after peeling because of the sweet and juicy flesh though enclosing many small seeds. The department of Nutritional Studies at the University of Nairobi has established that opuntia can be used for: wine production i.e. a fermented product by utilizing either sugar or honey (honey is produced extensively in the area); jam production using either sucrose or honey; drink or nectar dilution with water then adding sugar or honey and some acid followed by pasteurizing and bottling. Currently this is prepared as tea by the community by diluting with hot water and adding sugar to taste; porridge making i.e. flour mixed with a given quantity of the juice, dried then packaged for use in making porridge; blends with other juices (particularly Aloe Vera - the group has already started a project of its production); and making of fodder as livestock feed i.e. from the plants through maceration and drying for the cows and goats (it has less nutritional value compared to napier grass, but more than that of banana stems). This project is expected to be expanded to have a processing plant and develop a marketing strategy that move its products from being sold locally in the tourist lodges, to gracing supermarkets shelves in the whole country and for export.
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Mukogodo Opuntia is an invasive plant that has wrecked havoc upon the local community but has now found good use by the women. Read More
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