The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has expressed readiness to add value to the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) value chain which would create jobs and wealth for farmers.
The Director Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA), Hajiya Karima Babaginda, disclosed this at a one day workshop on utilisation of OFSP Train of the Trainers (ToT) skills acquisition for youth and women in South West, held in Ijebu-Ife.
She said: “It’s very important to look in the direction of product development to create more jobs for our teeming youths as well as a source of income generation for our women.”
Hajiya Babangida who was represented by the Programme Manager Roor and Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP) Ijebu-Ife, Ogun State, Mr Adelola Lordbanjou, said In the pursuit of food security and nutrition for our country, OFSP is readily available to be utilized and processed into various products.
She said: “To achieve these value addition objectives, there are a lot of product development potentials from Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato needed to be brought to people’s awareness, from confectioneries such as chin-chin, cakes, bread, doughnuts, flour, sweeteners and juice among others.”
She said the purpose of the workshop is to bring together policymakers, young men and women with the aim of training them to become champions in the act of value addition and product development from OFSP.
She said the workshop will also encourage policymakers to support the promotion and utilisation of the crop in areas of the 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 utilization and value addition,” she added.
Hajiya Babangida further said there is no controversy that the health and wealth benefits of OFSP due to its high beta carotene content which is a precursor of Vitamin A makes it to be adequate food to boosts the immune system of the elderly and helps in combating Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) among children.
“In view of the above, it is expedient for all participants to make good use of this training to learn, brainstorm and offer suggestions that will help in changing the narratives of low adoption and utilisation of OFSP in Nigeria 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.
“I hope that by the end of this workshop the purpose for organising this ToT would have been achieved and everyone will be equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge on OFSP utilisation and product development to increase adoption of the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato in Nigeria.
“It is expected that this workshop would equip participants with necessary technical information to train other youth and women farmers and processors. I welcome you all and wish you a fruitful deliberation.”