Published: 29 Jun 2017 Source: University Relations Office (URO)
Stakeholders have called for more support and focus on sweet potato as a viable business venture as it has entrepreneurial activity at each stage of the crop’s production. Professor Mrs. Ibok Oduro, Provost of the College of Science (CoS), made this call at the Training of Trainers Course dubbed “Everything You need to Know about Sweet-Potato”.
Professor Mrs. Oduro revealed that there was business in seed, planting, picking as well as transportation of the root and tubers. Again, the processing of the plant into puree, flour, base material for baking as well as the sale of prepared varieties of nutritious dishes from the crop were all businesses that the general public could venture into.
She also revealed that the leaves of the sweet potato was a viable business which had remained untapped. Potato leaves which were highly nutritious just as kontomire, were harvested thrice in a year as it took four months to be ready. Its cultivation could therefore help reduce unemployment and promote nutrition.
Professor Mrs. Oduro also appealed for public support for the production, processing as well as the consumption of sweet potato and hoped the Training of Trainers programme would empower participants to train more people to take up the potato business. According to Professor Ibok Oduro, food scientists like herself had developed various uses, beverages and dishes from sweet potato such as juice from both the tuber and the leaf, chips and pudding, boiled root (ampesi) and porridge for babies.
Sweet potato had also been incorporated into the local dishes and consumers could enjoy sweet potato “mpotompo”, sweet potato leaves palava sauce, swaakye or sweet potato waakye, sweet potato leaf soup and sweet potato leaf okro soup.
Ms. Putri Ernawati Abidin, Project Manager and a Sweet Potato Specialist at the International Potato Centre (CIP), stated that the role of the orange-fleshed sweet potato was becoming more and more important and beneficial. This was because sweet potato could contribute to combating vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and could serve as wheat flour substitute in processed products.
Ms. Abidin stated that all varieties were good sources of vitamins C,E,K, and B, with strong B-carotene found in the root and the leaf. It was for these reasons that the CIP continually engaged other stakeholders to explore techniques and ways to support the sweet potato crop and related activities.
Mr. Joseph Faalong, Ashanti Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), noted that there existed many opportunities in developing countries with many agricultural produce and MoFA with the responsibility of ensuring food security and sustainability supported stakeholders and it was no accident that sweet potato had been chosen. He therefore pledged the ministry’s support for the training and participants who would venture into the potato business as well.
The event attracted participants from ten (10) countries from Africa, Nepal and the United States of America.