Groundnut is consumed as a snack when roasted, as stew when milled or when roasted and ground to make peanut butter or paste, according to NARO researchers at the National Semi Arid Research Resources Institute (NaSARRI) based in Serere district.
Research from nutritionists says a handful of quality groundnuts provides food nutrients equivalent to those found in one piece of chicken thigh or drumstick, two glasses of milk, two eggs, three cobs of maize, and 16 portions of sweet potatoes.
Eating quality groundnuts leads to a healthy heart, more nutrition to mothers and children, healthy weight and more energy, the experts add.
When it comes to groundnut oil, it is one of the healthiest because the highest smoking point is 232.2°C, which makes it ideal for big hotels and restaurants and nutritionally conscious people.
With most foods cooking at about 100°C, groundnut oil is preferred for recycling unlike most oils with low smoking points.
Researchers add that groundnut oil has a neutral taste that does not affect the dish that is being prepared.
It also has a high shelf-life and can be stored for prolonged periods. In terms of income, when cultivated on a large scale, one is able to earn quick income, due to the growing demand.
Apart from direct income, of late, groundnuts are on demand for the production of ready-to-use therapeutic foods needed by humanitarian agencies working with refugees and nutrition units of hospitals for the malnourished children.
Those making therapeutic foods are interested in nutritionally rich groundnuts, the head of groundnut programme at NaSARRI, Dr David Kalule Okello, says.
Other benefits from groundnuts are that they have industrial applications into production of charcoal briquettes, animal feeds from haulms and remnant oil cake and paper egg trays, Okello adds.
Additional information from the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics indicates that only 4% (413,000 acres) of Uganda’s arable land is used for groundnut production.
Upon value addition, it could generate a total of $1.2b, Okello adds.
The demand and rate of growth is positive at 3.08%, meaning both production and yield per hectare is increasing.