Hanchotte (Coccinia abbyssica) is a tropical root crop that is indigenous to Ethiopia. Its edible parts are the tuberous roots and buds. Research literatures indicate that Hanchotte has a high nutritional content and medicinal value. It is also reputed for healing different ailments such as broken bones/dislocated joints as well as for the treatment of certain sexually transmitted diseases.
The farmer was able to successfully produce Hanchotte and harvest locally grown organic seeds from 2013-2018 at the Big River Farms (BRF) of the Minnesota Food Association (MFA). He sold the produce to the large Ethiopian communities living in Minnesota and to those residing in other states. He also introduced it to American consumers through the CSA of MFA. This indicates there is a promising business opportunity for this rare crop.
The farmer observed Hanchotte has a vigorous growth characteristic. It adapted itself to the Mid-West climatic conditions and was not attacked by pests or diseases as well as suppressed weeds growth through overshadowing them by its extensive leaves.
Even so, the farmer is facing financial constraints to realize the existing business opportunities. Hence, if granted financial assistance the sustainable production of Hanchotte will have important economic, educational, social, nutritional and environmental benefits.
Project objectives from proposal:
The farmer intends to scale up Hanchotte production by leasing a 2-acre land from MFA. This will enable the farmer to grow enough quantities of Hanchotte to meet the big demand for this produce.
Second, the farmer plans to process the roots into meshed Hanchotte, like meshed potato and thus make it a value-added product to enhance its shelf life and ease of its shipments to distance places.