Pacifique Ndemera is a young entrepreneur from Ruyigi province. After his studies at the University of the Great Lakes (Université des Grands Lacs) in Bujumbura, he found himself in an awkward situation due to the lack of job. Having tried to look for a job in various public and private institutions without being hired, he began to surf the Internet to do research and hence find a way to entrepreneurship. Luckily, he discovered a “Chia” plant of great importance in terms of the health of consumers. This plant will serve him as a gateway to “business”.
If Pacifique is trying to make money today, it’s because he didn’t sit back at the end of his university course. Passionate about entrepreneurship, he declares that he makes his living thanks to the “Chia” seeds that he was able to discover on the internet. “When I discovered this plant, I thought this was an opportunity to do a business because apart from its profitability, it is a plant that grows easily here in Burundi,” he recalls.
An exceptional food!
““Chia” seeds are a traditional American food originating from Mexico and Guatemala. The name Chia in the Nahauti language means “oily”. Chia seeds have been highly valued and consumed by natives for hundreds of years. It wasn’t until a few decades ago that Chia seeds were discovered around the world,” says Pacifique.
After researching “Chia” on the internet, Pacifique went to Tanzania to meet growers and those who do the “Chia” business. After being convinced, he bought “Chia” seeds to experiment with. “I planted and harvested several kilos of “Chia” seeds. I then launched into the “Chia” agribusiness”, he reveals.
Now, Pacifique wants to proceed with the marketing of this product of great importance for the health of its consumers but also which gives great profitability to its producers.
Despite challenges, he never fears. One of the challenges that Pacifique is facing and that he is preparing to take up is to make this unknown product known in Burundi by insisting on the importance of Chia seeds for health, among farmers who make agribusiness and vendors.
A medicinal plant!
As Pacifique Ndemera points out, “Chia” seeds are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants. Some of these antioxidants include: Caffeic Acid, Chlorogenic Acid, Kaempferol, Quercetin.
For Pacifique, these nutrients help provide many significant health benefits. For the reduction of free radicals, the antioxidants present in “Chia” seeds can help fight free radicals in the body. “Free radicals cause oxidative stress and cell damage. Consuming foods high in antioxidants may help reduce the risk of developing many health problems associated with free radicals, including heart disease, cognitive decline, and certain types of cancer,” he corroborates.
When it comes to better heart health, chia seeds contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may reduce your risk of developing several health conditions, including heart disease. “The seeds are also high in fiber, which may help reduce high blood pressure and, therefore, the risk of developing heart disease,” he confirms.
As for improving blood sugar levels, chia seeds are high in fiber. “Studies show that fiber may help reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar, reducing your risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Research has also shown which bread containing chia seeds triggers a lower glycemic response than the traditional pjua, which helps to prevent hyperglycemia”.
On reducing chronic inflammation that can lead to health issues like heart disease and cancer, Pacific says caffeic acid, an antioxidant found in Chia seeds, can help fight inflammation in the organism. “Regular consumption of chia seeds may also help reduce inflammatory markers, which often indicate the presence of inflammatory disease“, he indicates.
Proving that chia seeds can play a huge role in healthier weight management, Pacific claims that a one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains 39% of the recommended daily allowance of fiber. “The soluble fiber in the seeds absorbs water, which causes them to bloat in your stomach and increases your feeling of fullness when you eat them. By making you feel fuller even if you eat less, chia seeds can help you maintain a healthy weight”, he demonstrates.
In terms of better bone health, chia seeds contain several essential nutrients for bone health, including magnesium and phosphorus. A single seed also contains 18% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, which is essential for the proper functioning of bones, muscles and nerves. “When compared gram by gram, chia seeds contain more calcium than dairy products”, he convinces.
In nutrition, Chia seeds provide many essential nutrients, including Calcium, Manganese, Magnesium, Selenium, Copper, Iron, Phosphorus.