Pressure popping is a technique that uses heat pressure to turn different grains into snacks (depicted in this video). It is an intervention that the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT pioneered in collaboration with the Japan Association for International Collaboration of Agriculture and Forestry (JAICAF), IEDA Confectionary Limited, (a Japanese company), and the National Museums of Kenya. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) provided financial support.
The initiative was borne out of research findings and lessons that indicated local and urban disparities, including escalating hunger and malnutrition; and diminishing awareness and consumption of diverse, nutritious traditional foods.
Our focus is to re-introduce these traditional food crops in communities, demonstrate local benefits, and encourage their cultivation and consumption in novel forms other than the conventional preparation methods of porridge and ugali, which can be monotonous and boring, especially to children and youth.
Most cereals like pearl millet and sorghum are drought-resistant and packed with essential nutrients like amino acids, fibre, iron, magnesium and zinc. Once popped through pressure heating in 5-7 minutes, the cereals and pulses are consumed in diverse ways. This includes their immediate state as puffed grains or as snack bars through shaping and fortifying with other ingredients and flavours, popularly known as kashata among Muslim communities.
The machine was locally manufactured by DK engineering LTD Company, based in Nairobi, Kenya, and introduced to community self-help groups and entrepreneurs in the counties of Kitui, Migori, Embu, Bomet and Kakamega, who learned how to use it to produce healthy snacks for their own consumption and for income generation through product sales.