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Brassica carinata commonly referred to as the Ethiopian kale or mostaza Etiope is a kale variety whose origin dates back to 6000 years ago around the East African highlands.

Initially, the primary purpose of growing the crop was to provide oiled seeds for processing but its leaves while still fresh and succulent have come in handy for the locals who boil or fry them to make stew. Other than being tasty after boiling or frying the green leaves have a lot of nutrients.

The crop has a deep-rooted system and a sturdy stem extending above the soil with broad, alienated and straightforward leaves on it.

The practice around the country of growing the Ethiopia kale in the winter and early spring has made its harvest available twice a year.

Varieties

Ethiopia Mustard-It is usually not used for food purposes as its products are reserved for refining into petroleum-based fuels.

Abyssinian mustard-Usually referred to Yabesha Gomen in Amharic, and a mild sense of taste characterizes its leaves. It is grown as an oilseed. It contains high levels of unwanted glucosinolates and erucic acids.

Exportation form

Raw and Fresh-One of the forms in which the Ethiopia kales are exported are when they are fresh from the farms. They are also exported in chilled form and thirdly as oils after their seeds are subjected to processing.

Growing conditions

The crop is prevalent in the highland areas of the country at elevations of above 2600 meters and the mountainous southwestern parts of Ethiopia. Those areas have temperatures ranging between 59-68°, wet grounds and exemplify both partial shade and full sun conditions. These conditions have been ideal for the crop’s growth during its pre-germination, germination and post-germination phase thus the reason locals reap huge yields.

Harvesting and post-harvesting phase

Ethiopia kale takes less than seven weeks to mature. Farmers harvest the kales using a hand selection method which helps them pluck only the healthiest leaves, then leave buds for the subsequent harvest to develop. What follows is the transportation of the leaves to the warehouse where airtight polyethylene material is used to wrap them as they await shipment.

Two methods are used to harvest Ethiopian kales which include only the tender shoots which are in their developing phase – they are usually approximately five weeks old. They are cleaned and sold in local markets such as Addis Ababa for ten weeks before the remaining buds that were left in the fields fully grow.

The second one entails obtaining oil from the seeds of the plant. Three months after planting, farmers harvest the dry pods containing the seeds then dry them on mats. After they start showing signs of shrinking to signify the loss of water the next face kick-starts. It involves threshing off the seeds from the pods which are then processed into oil.

This wintergreen plant that thrives at 15 to 20 degrees Celsius also calls for equally pre-cooled packing.

Conditions under which the kales wrapped in polyethylene and placed in boxes are maintained at 0° Celsius. Usually, the clean, tall and young eared kales are sampled then tied with custom binding material-it carries three leaves per branch. Rubber bands serve multiple purposes because they are also used to tie the bunches. Only Grade 1 which is the healthiest and Grade 2-moderately healthy leaves are selected.

Conclusion

The crops vast nutritional values have endeared it both to the local and export market thus increasing its demand such as Vitamin C, which is among the highest in green vegetables at 200 percent of the daily value.


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