Guaya (Amargna), Grass Pea, Chickling
Pea, 'Vetch' (English)
Grass Pea is a drought resistant,
high yielding nitrogen rich pulse with high-quality protein and carbohydrate.
The seeds and the leaves are normally known as an animal feed.
part(s), preparation methods and palatability
L. sativus is known as a famine food
in chronic food shortage areas because of its very low water requirement.
It is commonly consumed boiled or roasted. Its flour is used to make bread.
Grass Pea is also used in the traditional dish called 'wot'. It
may provide the entire diet in times of food shortage. In normal times
it is mixed with other cereals like wheat and rice. Consumed excessively,
Grass Pea causes irreversible crippling effects, a disease known as lathyrism.
Found in the
Northern and Central highlands of Ethiopia.
Propagates by seed, direct sowing.
Wag Hamra; (2) North and South Welo (Amhara Region);
(3) North Gonder (Amhara Region)
consumption of Grass Pea in North and South Welo and the continuous increase
of cases of human lathyrism, especially in the highlands above 2500m, have
repeatedly been reported. This attractive survival crop is increasingly
consumed in drought prone areas. The disease occurring after excessive
consumption affects particularly the poorest and most active population
segment. With continuous crop failures in the Welo area since 1995, a new
lathyrism epidemic crippled at least 2000 people, leaving nearly one in
five victims a 'crawler', i.e. the victim lost all ability to walk. But
maybe soon poor people in famine stroke areas such as Welo in Ethiopia
may not have to fear lathyrism from grass pea anymore. The International
Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Aleppo, Syria,
succeeded in breeding virtually toxin free cultivars of L. sativus. The
research took 15 years until it became possible in the beginning of 2000
to produce strains of L. sativus offering the yield, taste, and environmental
ruggedness of the original plant.