Of late, you might have heard of sacha inchi and probably have seen quite a number of products based on sacha inchi, particularly its oil.
So what is sacha inchi?
Sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis) is also commonly known as sacha peanut, mountain peanut, Inca nut or Inca-peanut. It is native to several tropical South America countries such as Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. In the Amazon Rainforest in Peru, it has been cultivated by indigenous people for centuries, however, sustainable trade sufficient volumes are not available in the wild until 2009.
Sacha Inchi plant can reach up to a height of 2 metres (6′ 6″), with alternate, heart shaped, serrated leaves, 10 to 12 cm long (4″-4.7″) and 8 to 10 cm (3.1-3.9″) wide, that have petioles 2–6 cm (0.8-2.3″) long.
Sacha inchi (plukenetia volubilis) is a star-shaped fruit. It is also known as the Inca peanut or sacha peanut, which grows within the star-shaped fruit pod
In 1976-1980 the study of Sacha Inchi’s excellent chemical and nutritional attributes was conducted, published and presented by Dr. Antunez de Mayolo. Over the years, the demand for Sacha Inchi oil for cooking and health supplement have been rising both in South America and abroad. Taking advantage on the rising demand, non-profit organizations helped the indigenous farmers in Central Amazon, Peru to cultivate commercially viable Sacha Inchi as cash crop to improve their standard of living.
After the fruit is dried, the seeds are dehusked. AL-LECCA’s Extra Virgin Sacha Inchi Oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of the Sacha Inchi plant. This oil has a great balance of Omega 3,6 and 9.
Sacha Inchi was first exported to Switzerland from Peru in the mid 2000’s and at the same time the approval process required by the European Union was commenced. In January 2013 the European Union approved Sacha Inchi Oil for sale as a Novel Food until in the mid 2000’s. In October 2014 the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) approved Sacha Inchi as Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS).
Where can we grow sacha inchi?
Sacha Inchi is currently grown in several countries in South America along with an emerging industry in South East Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar), China (mostly around Yunnan) and India.
In 2018, RISDA started a program to plant sacha inchi in order to raise the income of farmers.
Sacha Inchi Malaysia
AL-LECCA heeding the call, pioneered the sacha inchi planting in our own farm in Malaysia. Over the years AL-LECCA has successfully grown 30 acres of sacha inchi which yields fruit all year round. Recently we have exchanged notes with RISDA Venture and University College Agroscience Malaysia (UCAM) on the techniques and commercial opportunities of Sacha Inchi in Malaysia.
AL-LECCA sacha inchi farm is also visited by the top brass from RISDA, fellow students and researches from UCAM. We showed them how to plant sacha inchi commercially including soil selection, planting, pruning to yield the best results.
At AL-LECCA we believe that agriculture plays a crucial role in the economy of developing countries like ours, and provides the main source of food, income and employment especially to their rural populations.
Improvements in agriculture and land use are fundamental to achieving food security, poverty alleviation and overall sustainable development.
That’s why we constantly work hand in hand with the relevant authorities to make advancement in this sector.
Our representative, chess master Christie Hon Kah Seng is here to discuss the potential of Sacha Inchi and introducing the product of our land, Sacha Inchi Oil, to the Deputy Minister of Plantations, Industry and Commodities, Dato’ Sri Dr. Wee Jeck Seng.
In order to produce high quality products we work with renown researchers in the area of food science and technology. We also send our products for lab tests including halal certification.
AL-LECCA work with Professor Dr. Tan from UPM to research efficacy of Sacha Inchi.