The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and SANO Foods have called for the use of Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) puree and flour in bread and other confectionaries.
The two organisations said this would save foreign exchange for the country through reduced importation and consumption of imported wheat, and that it would also stimulate production, processing, productivity and prosperity of farmers through crop industrialisation.
This call was made at a product display programme held at the IITA campus, Ibadan, in Oyo State.
The partnership which seeks to confront vitamin-A deficiency have adopted bio-fortified foods such as potato, cassava and maize, as well as their by-products as cost-effective, widely-accepted and locally available means.
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 sector.
Solomon Ojeleye, Acting General Manager of SANO Foods, while speaking at the event, stated that the vision of the company was to ensure that, “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.
“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 substitute for wheat flour to ensure consumers have access to healthy bread,” he said. Ojeleye also said solving the vitamin deficiency in Nigeria was the major focus of the product display programme
At the programme IITA under the Basic II programme presented the new improved varieties of cassava species that will give farmers higher yield and also more nutritional value for consumers.
Delivering the Keynote address, Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery, IITA emphasised the importance of cassava to Nigeria economy and why farmers need to embrace the new varieties.
Several value chain products from the selected bio-fortified crops were on display, which include; 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 events 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.