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Ethiopian Grass pea are a type of pulse crop belonging to the Fabaceae family and Vicieae tribe. Grass pea plants show abiotic and biotic stress resistance. The plant is able to resist both drought and flooding, to adapt to a wide range of soil types, including the marginal ones, to grow in cool climates and at high altitudes. Compared to other legumes, it is also resistant to many insect pests. Grass pea bean needs a subtropical or tropical climate with range 800-1100 millimeters for tropical regions and 600-1200 millimeters for subtropical regions and 700 millimeters if cultivated by irrigational system of annual rain.
Lathyrus sativus L., commonly known as grass pea, is an annual plant widely grown as a pulse crop and its dried seeds are harvested and consumed as a human food since ancient times. As different research shows these seeds contain high levels of proteins (25.6±0.20 g/100 g) and essential amino acids (7.92 g/100 g). Different unsaturated fatty acids contribute to the total lipids amount (1.67±0.18 g/100 g); among them, the essential PUFA linolenic, linoleic and linolenic acids are the most abundant. Ascorbic acid (13.50±0.30 mg/100 g) and glutathione (15.90±0.10 mg/100 g) are also present and, the folic acid content (206.70±8.30 g/100 g) represents 50% of the vitamin RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance). Total phenolic content (174.91±8.39/100 g), as well as the radical scavenging activity. DPPH radical and ABTS radical cation, have been estimated. The content of neurotoxin ODAP (16.2±0.5 g/Kg), commonly present in seeds of all examined grass pea genotypes and responsible of lathyrism paralysing disease, is quite high. In fact, these seeds have good protein content (relatively rich in lysine) and a high level of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Our Grass pea is grown both as feed for livestock and as a grain crop for humans. The crop is an excellent fodder with its reliable yield and high protein content. Grass pea also plays an important role in farming systems by providing fertilizer (like other legumes, it fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere) and reducing pest outbreaks through intercropping with other food crops.
Grass pea, or Lathyrus, presents a fascinating paradox - it is both a lifesaver and a destroyer. It is easily cultivated and can withstand extreme environments - from drought to flooding. And, because of this hardiness, grass pea is often the only alternative to starvation when other crops fail. However, when eaten as a large part of the diet over a long enough periods (which is often the case during famine) it can permanently paralyse adults from the knees down and cause brain damage in children, a disorder named lathyrism. Cause paralysis if eaten over prolonged periods.
We keep our stock at moisture content around 10 to 12% to prevent insect and or disease outbreaks in storage. Usually our storage system carefully fumigated before storing the stock and all storage areas we have monitored regularly to identify potential problems early. We often pack at the time of sales in 50kg package system but it might vary depend on the demand of the buyers.