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‘How Nigeria can reduce wheat importation’

By Abiodun Fagbemi Ilorin   |   02 November 2015   |   4:44 am  

Wheat importation

Wheat. Photo: wikimedia

NIGERIA can reduce importation of wheat by 25 per cent if its farmers embraced proper growth of Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes, (OFSP), the Country Representative of the International Potato Centre, (CIP), Dr. Phorbee Peju has said.

Peju, who spoke at the 18th annual lecture of Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute ARMTI), Ilorin on the topic; ‘Food Security, Employment Generation and Wealth Creation in a Developing Economy: the Role of (OFSP),’ said the OFSP, which could be grown in all the 36 states of the Federation could meet some bakery needs in Nigeria.

OFSP is a breed of sweet potato that is fortified with Vitamin A; which is an essential micronutrient for all especially children under the age of five, pregnant and lactating mothers, just as it improves vision.

According to her, “the bakery industry, which is the largest industry in Nigeria can boost farmers’ productivity, improve nutrition and livelihoods if OFSP, in form of puree can be used in bread baking and other pastry products like cookies, cakes, pies and so on. A composite flour of about 40 per cent OFSP puree has been made into well acceptable bread for commercial purpose in Nairobi while bakery in the state of Osun is presently using it.

“This inclusion even at 25 per cent will go a long way in reducing dependence on wheat importation, conserve foreign exchange, put more money in farmers’ pockets and productively engage our women and youths. This is just one aspect of use, not to mention other products that can be adopted from countries especially China.”

She added, “There are other commercial high value products that can be made from the OFSP like juice, complementary foods, and jam/spread. Rainbow project, in collaboration with the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta and Federal Polytechnic Offa are working tirelessly on OFSP diversified product development and promotions for uptake by the medium-large scale industries.

Already, beyond ‘boil and eat’ the OFSP had been processed into various commercial products and also be used to enrich indigenous foods. Besides, rural women processors in the six OFSP projects’ states have successfully come up with OFSP Kunu, (local beverage), OFSP gaari, Fufu, elubo, pap and other meals.



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