BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
In the pursuit of food security in the country, stakeholders in the agricultural sector have engaged youths and women in the South West on utilisation and processing of sweet potatoes into various products.
The director, Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA), Hajia Karima Babangida, said there are a lot of product development potentials from Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) needed to be brought to people’s awareness, from confectioneries such as chin-chin, cakes, breads, doughnuts, flour, sweeteners and juice among others.
Karima, who spoke during a one day workshop on the utilisation of OFSP skills acquisition for youths and women in the South West, said it is very important to look in the direction of product development to create more jobs for the country’s teeming youths as well as source of income generation for women.
Represented by the programme manager, Root & Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP), Mr. Adeola Lordbanjou, Karima said OFSP contains high beta carotene content which is a pre-cursor of Vitamin A, making it an adequate food to boost immune system and combatVitamin A Deficiency (VAD) among children.
She noted that the purpose of the workshop was to bring together policy makers, young men and women with the aim of training them to become champions in the act of value addition and product development from OFSP.
The director also encourage policy makers to support the promotion and utilisation of the crop in areas of school feeding programme, food for the vulnerable and the internally displaced persons.
“This workshop will also expose the trainees to basic skills and knowledge about the crops flexibility in the area of utilisation and value addition,” she explained.
She therefore, urged all participants to make good use of the training to learn, brain storm and offer suggestions that will help in changing the narratives of low adoption and utilisation of OFSP in the country.
“And also, based on the skills and knowledge gathered from this workshops; we charge you all to become an advocate of OFSP utilisation/product development in your various communities and states,”she added.