LAUTECH partners WAAPP to popularise orange fleshed sweet potato
A team of lecturers from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Oyo State, have commenced an awareness campaign on the potentials of the Orange fleshed Sweet Potato (O.F.S.P), as a means of enhancing the livelihood and nutrition of the masses in Oyo and Kwara States.
It is a multi disciplinary and multi-institutional project, jointly funded by the West African Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) and LAUTECH, to harness the expertise of different researchers.
The team, from the Faculties of Food Science and Engineering, as well as their counterparts in Agricultural Sciences, led by the University’s Director of Quality Assurance, who is a Professor of Food Science, Prof. Aishat Bolanle Akinwande, are working towards popularising benefits of the specie, as crop and food in both states.
Akinwande, who coordinates LAUTECH’s team members and design implementation of the project, who spoke at the beginning of the awareness programme, held last week at Odo-Oba, described the Orange fleshed Sweet potato as an excellent food security crop which is good for under-nutrition and micronutrient malnutrition.
According to her, the food product is a good source of energy that is well accepted by small children and adults and enhances growth and immunity, while also preventing blindness, decreasing mortality, especially in children.
Speaking on the advantages of the food product over other staple foods, the coordinator of both on-farm adaptation and institutional based research at both zones, Dr. Timothy Olabiyi, said the OFSP is less labour intensive and easy to cultivate with growth on marginal soil, and fairly drought resistant when established, emphasising that roots and vines (four per cent protein) have potential for human food and animal feed.
“The opportunities for value addition to different products reduce post-harvest losses of tubers. It is rich in Vitamins A, B, C, E and K and equally high in fiber content with low glycemic index.
It has significant impact on vitamin A deficiency that threatens children under age five.”
In her own address, coordinator of product development activities of the project, who is also a lecturer in Food Science and Engineering, Professor Beatrice Ade-Omowaiye, said the potato portends high bio availability of vitamin A, whose feeding to children improved their vitamin A status between three weeks and four months.
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