IITA develops new sweet potato variety to tackle malnutrition

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Empowering, Novel, Agri-Business Led, Employment, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (ENABLE TAAT) has recently developed an Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) species to tackle malnutrition and reduce diabetes in Africa.

Murtalab Adedamola, the ENABLE TAAT Field Trainer of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Tuesday.

He said that the development of the potato species was one of the plans of IITA, aimed at combating malnutrition and attaining food security in Africa. Adedamola said that OFSP was different from the Irish potato, adding that it contained a lot of water, Vitamin A, high carotene and has low sugar levels.

“It has two varieties – King J and Mothers’ Delight – and it can be used for baking cake, snacks and bread. It is stress-free, its cultivation cycle is within three months; it is not a tuber but a root and it does not go deep into the soil like cassava.”

The field trainer said that the maintenance of an OFSP farm would not require much weeding, adding that the soil would crack while its flowers would shoot out to signal the appropriate time for harvesting.

He, however, warned that the King J variety of the OFSP was better suited to the northern parts of the country, while the cultivation of the Mothers’ Delight type would thrive in the South.

Worldstagegroup.com quoted Adedamola as saying: “In Cameroon, we have four varieties of OFSP and in Cote d’Ivoire, there are six varieties. Farmers are planting it already but the produce lacks market because people are not aware of its numerous benefits.”

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