If you haven’t sprinkled a spoonful of jaggery over a steaming bowl of porridge and watched it dissolve creating golden waves within your bowl…then you need to do this! Not only on porridge but in your savory and sweet cooking, jaggery is a much healthier alternative to white sugar. The jaggery that we stock is grown and processed in western Kenya, close to the shores of Lake Victoria, by Homa Lime.
The Company is a family business in Western Kenya started in Kanjira (Karachuonyo) in the mid 1920s producing under 5 tonnes of Hydrated Lime per day. In 1938 it moved to Kowuor, near Homa Bay and was incorporated as a limited company. Now Homa Lime grow 250 hectares of sugar cane alongside their lime production. This sugar cane is said to be some of the best sugar cane in the country reaching yields of over 100 tonnes per hectare. This sugar Cane is grown under the Mazao Yetu Ltd name which also includes forestry, Boran and Red Poll cattle farming, sheep, pigs and dairy!
Jaggery is a wholly unrefined natural sugar that is produced without use of chemicals and is nutritionally comparable with honey, with no chemical additives. Sugar cane is crushed to remove the juice. It is then heated to remove excess water and then allowed to cool and dry. The mineral content of jaggery is much higher than that of white sugars, containing calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and iron and traces of zinc and copper. It is also a source of folic acid, proteins and B-complex vitamins. In arid areas of Kenya many people who cannot afford more than one meal a day eat a few grams of jaggery to give themselves an energy boost during the day. It is also reported to be beneficial for the healing of wounds internally and externally.
Homa Lime have a forestry section comprising 280 hectares of trees of which 100 hectares have been gazetted as a national monument for the preservation of indigenous woodland. They also help other farmers to establish their own plantations on their farms. Homa Lime helps farmers locally to develop their cane farms and tree plantations and to harvest and transport their crops to the mills. In addition, Homa Lime has built their own primary school, Legetet Hill Primary School, on the farm. This school is non-profit making and when it does start to show a profit this will be used to improve the facilities.