The government has been urged to create public awareness before the intended blending of maize flour with millet, cassava and sorghum to augment nutritional value and reduce the clamour for white ugali, which has less nutritional value.
A Nutritionist at Egerton University, Dr Maurine Cheserek said the entire world was now moving towards ‘whole food’ because of the scare of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer which have alarmed the World.
Interviewed by KNA at the university on Wednesday, Dr. Cheserek said Egerton University’s scientists have been involved by the government in the research of the anticipated nutritional switch from the much liked white ugali to a nutritionally superior blended one with sorghum or millet.
However, she said nutritional changes were not as easy as most people imagined because people use all their five senses while eating. That means if one is used to white ugali, the moment the colour changes to brown, they might reject it, not necessarily because it is bad, but because the sight of a brown colour might not be appealing to their eyes.
“Our greatest concern in the proposed switch to a more nutritious brownish ugali is the sense of sight, which many may use negatively and reject the better ugali even before tasting it,” Dr Cheserek said.
She added to avoid unnecessary friction, there was an urgent need to create awareness and understanding of the projected introduction of blended maize flour, which would certainly change the colour of the popular white ugali.
“Once wananchi are made to value and realize the health benefits they are likely to gain from the blending of maize and sorghum, there is a possibility that they may reject the white ugali and pick the brownish flour from the shelves,” she added.
Dr. Cheserek also appealed to the government not to associate the blending to lack of maize, because then wananchi may perceive the switch to blended ugali as propaganda and reject it outright.
By Veronica Bosibori