Notes to broadcasters
Sorghum is part of the cereal family—like millet, wheat, barley, maize, and rice. In fact, it’s the fifth most commonly grown cereal in the world. In Tanzania, it’s the second most grown cereal after maize. Sorghum is categorized according to its colours, white and red. It is rich in many nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, several minerals, and vitamins B, C, and E.
Unlike other cereals, sorghum is not very commonly known and used in Tanzania, except in those cultures where it is used as a staple food for cooking foods such as ugali (stiff porridge), sorghum bread, or mixing it with beans or pulses to make what is known as makande. Sorghum is also used as a supplementary food in drought and hunger-stricken regions because of its drought-resistant properties.
But recent research and development has resulted in sorghum being more popular because of its nutritious qualities and healing properties. It has been suggested that eating sorghum can help people deal with anemia, cancer, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Sorghum is also being increasingly used as a substitute for maize flour.
Sorghum is now well-known across Tanzania, and one of the key ingredients in baby porridge, where it is mixed with peanuts, sardines, and maize flour.
This script looks at sorghum’s journey from an unknown to a famous cereal in Tanzania, with health benefits that surpass other cereals, and have put it on top of the cereal food chain as an alternative remedy for healthy lives.
You might choose to present this script as part of your regular farming program, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.
You could also use this script as research material or as inspiration for creating your own programming on the health benefits of sorghum or other foods.
Talk to nutritionists, other experts, and people who are experienced at cooking with sorghum. You might ask them:
• What is the history of growing sorghum and cooking with sorghum in your area?
• What kinds of adjustments do you need to make to substitute sorghum for maize or other cereals in common foods?
• What is the impact of eating sorghum on health?
Apart from speaking directly to nutritionists, cooks, and other experts, you could use these questions as the basis for a phone-in or text-in program.
Estimated running time for this item is 10-12 minutes, including intro and outro.
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To understand these issues and the mysteries behind them, I spoke to a nutrition expert and sorghum researcher named Saidi Mankiligo, who is the Principle Nutrition Officer at Shinyanga District Council. Mr. Mankiligo is a graduate in Home Economics and Human Nutrition from Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania.
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First, is sorghum a common food in your area and in Tanzania in general?
Sorghum is categorized according to its colours, white and red. In Tanzania, white or Serena sorghum has two types: Ndalasaba and Kakela, and red sorghum also has two types: Kakula and Mwanagudungu. Each of these types has a number of varieties.
Sorghum is rich in many nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, potassium, sodium, antioxidants, and vitamins B, C, and E.
The antioxidants in sorghum help prevent colon and breast cancer, strengthen the immune system, and increase the iron and oxygen content in the blood to prevent anemia. Sorghum also reduces diabetes because it doesn’t contain cholesterol and has a lot of fibre. It also helps prevent obesity, regulates digestion because of its high fibre content, prevents stomach problems for people who can’t digest gluten, including those people who have celiac disease, and builds strong bones because of its high concentration of calcium.
Eating sorghum regulates digestion and prevents stomach problems because it has a lot of fibre and is free of gluten. Sorghum promotes healthy bones for women and children, and boosts their immune system, as new mothers are prone to disease after giving birth.
On the other hand, red sorghum contains substances that make it difficult for the body to absorb protein. Thus, it needs careful preparation, including proper harvesting, drying, milling, and sifting to maintain its protein and other healthy nutrients. Farmers prefer red sorghum because it generates a lot of energy and can maintain that energy for a long time.
(PAUSE) After hearing from a nutrition expert about the health and nutritional benefits of sorghum, we wanted to hear the personal experience of someone who has used sorghum as a substitute for cereals like maize in common foods. Joyce Jacob has cooked with sorghum for some years and will now share her insights on using sorghum. Welcome, Joyce Jacob.
Sorghum has a lighter and finer texture than maize. Foods cooked with sorghum are easier to eat and digest more quickly than other cereals.
You can also make buns with sorghum, and you can mix sorghum flour with maize or cassava flour to reduce the elasticity of dough and improve the texture, smell, and taste of whatever you cook with flour.
Sorghum is my cereal of choice because it is easy to cook, tastes better, has a smooth texture, and gives the body more energy and health. Sorghum is rich in carbohydrates, in common with other cereals like rice and wheat.I would recommend it to people who want to remain fit and healthy.
We hope that listeners will now think twice before picking other cereals over sorghum!
Thank you for tuning in to (name of program). Till next time, it’s me your host, (host’s name). Stay tuned!
Contributed by: Raziah Quallatein Mwawanga, Independent producer
Reviewed by: Sauli Epimack, nutritional epidemiologist, Community Health and Nutrition, Tanzania Food and Nutrition Center, Dar es salaam, Tanzania
Saidi Mankiligo, December, 2015
Joyce Jacob, February, 2016
This script was written with the support of the Irish government through Irish Aid.
The ideas, opinions, and comments herein are entirely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect Irish Aid policy.