In a bid to tackle issues of vitamin A deficiency in the country, SANO Foods and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) are advocating for Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OSFP) flour and puree as substituted for wheat in bread and confectionaries.
Both organisations say the adoption of bio-fortified crops such as potato, cassava, and maize as well as their by-products is cost-effective, widely accepted, and locally available.
According to them, this will help the country save foreign exchange that would have been spent on wheat importation as Nigeria does not have a comparative advantage in the production of the grain.
They added that it will also stimulate local production, processing and improve farmers livelihoods who cultivate the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato and other bio-fortified crops.
“Nigerians have easy access to organic, healthy, and nutritional products to reverse widespread malnutrition as inflation bites harder and conventional vitamin-fortified foods become too expensive for most Nigerians,” said Solomon Ojeleye, acting general manager of SANO Foods at a programme targeted at solving Vitamin deficiency in Nigeria.
“SANO Foods has invested so much in research and development to get the new products available and affordable. Bakers nationwide can now use the OFSP puree and flour as a substitute for wheat flour to ensure consumers have access to healthy bread,” Ojeleye said.
During the programme IITA under the Basic II initiative presented the new improved varieties of cassava species that will give farmers higher yield and also more nutritional value for consumers.
Kenton Dashiell, deputy director-general – partnerships for delivery, IITA in his keynote address emphasised the importance of cassava to Nigeria’s economy and stressed the need for farmers to embrace the new varieties.
The initiative, which was a collaboration with SANO Foods Limited – an Abeokuta-based agricultural value chain player, was attended by critical stakeholders in the food and agro-allied industry.
Several value chain products from the selected bio-fortified crops were on display, including turmeric garri (garri mixed with turmeric), OFSP garri (garri with Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato), OFSP bread varieties (bread with Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato), lemongrass juice, varieties tea and several other products.
Present at the event are Michael Abberton, director, West Africa Hub, IITA; Alfred Dixon, director -development &delivery, IITA; Professor Lateef Sanni, project manager, BASICS II, IITA, Paul Ilona, managing director, Harvest Plus and Sola Olunowo, managing director, Agro Park among others.
SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY