Experts say that, although there is currently enough food to meet the nutritional needs of an ever-increasing global population, today people are forced to share food with cattle, pigs and birds. Kit Mochan writes about this in his article for the Australian news agency ABC News. Amaranth research in Australia
The need for research amaranth: a steady increase in the population of the planet
According to forecasts, by 2050 the world’s population will reach a fantastic mark of 9.7 billion. Experts are wondering whether people can afford to share wheat, oats and corn with livestock.
In the opinion of many, this is why China decided to stake on a fast-growing amaranth plant in order to use it for feeding livestock so that other crops can be left to produce food for people.
Note. After three decades of research amaranth China is actively expanding its activities in this direction. Currently, the country produces up to 800,000 tons of amaranth, but in the future, the Chinese plan to increase its production to 60 million tons.
The chairman of the organization Amaranth Ecological Technology DAO YAN visited the lands of Western Australia in September 2017. During the visit, an agreement was concluded with a local group of producers Southern Dirt on the study of amaranth, as a fodder crop.
Executive Director of Southern Dirt, TRACY HODJKINS, after signing the contract, according to which farmers in Western Australia will be provided amaranth seeds for growing plants for livestock, said: “What the Chinese offer is a technology for growing plants, which allows us to get 10 times more yield, what can give our land. Amaranth is good because you can use every part of this plant. ”
What is amaranth?
Australian gardeners are known to grow amaranth in order to get beautiful, bright, red flowers. However, if the crops are amaranths to talk about the plant as a whole, then not many Australians have heard of this plant, which the Aztecs and other peoples of the American continent had cultivated thousands of years ago.
This dietary product in ancient Mesoamerica was known as huaully, which means “life giver”. Amaranth seeds were ground into flour, from which edible sculptures of Aztec deities were prepared.
After Spanish colonization, amaranth lost its popularity, but it is still eaten in some countries. For example, in India and Bolivia.
Food versus feed
Professor GRAHAM MARTIN, from the Institute of Agriculture at the University of Western Australia, believes that Amaranth Ecological Technology’s plans to expand crops will be a really good project.
According to the professor, the Chinese approach is interesting in terms of collecting the green mass of amaranth for feeding animals. In particular, silage and other types of feed can be made from plants and used in animal husbandry or fisheries.
Note! Amaranth was used as food for people for many centuries, but the Chinese decided to use it as an animal feed production. That is due to the rapid growth of the plant and a high content of protein in it.
Professor Martin predicts that alternative food sources for animals will be crucial in the future.
“We produce a lot of food, which is actually human food, but we do not use it for people, we feed animals to it,” says Professor Martin.
“If you look at population growth, you will see that by 2050 the number of people on the planet will increase by 3.5 billion. We produce enough food for this additional 3.5 billion today, but we use it to feed cattle, pigs and birds, ”adds the professor. “I can imagine a scenario when the demand for human food in a grain form becomes so high that in any case it will become too expensive for animal husbandry.”
Professor Martin is confident that using fast-growing varieties of amaranth fodder to produce food for animals is an excellent Chinese business plan. Especially since the Australian conditions are ideal for this plant.
“The Chinese are looking to the future, and they see exactly what the problem may be,” the professor concluded.
There are many varieties of amaranth. Including those that are intended for the production of silage. We wrote about them earlier – they are nutritious and provide quick weight gain by animals. Therefore, it is not surprising that such plants interested farmers and agricultural specialists in many regions of the planet.