Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.)
Amaranth is consumed as a nutritious grain in the high mountain communities and as an iron rich leafy vegetable in the rest of the country. Amaranth is a gluten free grain and a great source of protein. It is a great source of the essential amino acids lysine, which is rare in plant-based foods. Culturally amaranth grains are associated with purity in Nepal and used as a food that can be consumed even during religious fasting. Over 35 tons of amaranth is exported from the district of Doti to India predominantly for this purpose annually.
Amaranth is easy to cultivate. Vigorous vegetative growth of certain genotypes, especially from Kaski, Ramechhap and Sindhuli districts make it an easy to cultivate leafy vegetable. It high nutritional value (iron and minerals), availability during the lean period for the most preferred leafy vegetable of broadleaf mustard in Nepal, make it a win-win for both farmers and consumers.