Agribusiness entrepreneurs have been urged to consider Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) as a viable business opportunity due to its rich Vitamin A nutritional content that improves eyesight and enhances growth, especially in children.
Mr. Stephen Nketia, the Head of Commercialisation Division at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Food Research Institute (CSIR-FRI) advised players within the agribusiness industry particularly food processors and value chain actors to consider the OFSP as a great business opportunity to venture.
OFSP is a special type of bio-fortified or another variety of sweet potato that contains a high level of beta carotene. Beta-carotene is what provides OFSP the orange colour and is converted to Vitamin A in the body after consumption to provide additional nutritional benefits.
The Head of Commercialisation Division spoke on the topic “Business opportunities in Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) at a two-day workshop organised by CSIR in partnership with Modernising Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) regional office in the Central Region.
Mr. Nketia explained that, the food had been discovered in the country which when given attention could serve as a major source of avenue to scale up profit margin for agribusiness owners.
“The OFSP has a lot of nutritional benefits which when taken as a business can scale up our profit margin. So, we can carve a niche for ourselves as OFSP entrepreneurs.” Mr. Nketia said.
He added, “OFSP could mostly be found in the Northern sector although it is quite scarce in the southern sector and as such, agribusiness owners should establish business networks with farmers from the Northern sector”.
Touching on turning OFSP into flour to be used as a value-addition component, the Head of the Commercialisation Division at CSIR-FRI urged agribusiness players to pre-consult the views of customers.
According to him, “gone were the days where agribusiness owners made their produce without seeking the views of their customers about how they wanted it” adding, “the modern business environment demanded effective consultation with customers in order to produce to suit their needs and increase the market value of their produce”.
Mr Nketia also urged the participants to keep proper records of their OFSP businesses to monitor the growth and find ways to resolve profit loss. “Record keeping is not only to your benefit but also to the benefit of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) in case you want to set up a small business with the OFSP and grow it in the future”, he said.
With regard to marketing OFSP, Mr Nketia advised the agribusiness players to ascertain the demand first in order to be armed with information before they start any business transactions.
The workshop drew participants within the agribusiness fraternity from the neighbouring towns and seasoned food research scientists including Prof. Paa Nii Johnson, a former Director at the CSIR-FRI and Dr. Peter Omega, the Central Regional Director at MoFA.
The workshop was held to sensitize agribusiness players especially processors and other value chain actors on the adoption of OFSP as a value-addition component to their produce.
MAG is five year initiative from the Canadian government to provide financial support and technical assistance in response to the objectives of food and agricultural sector development policies and value chain management issues for increased farmer incomes and enhanced rural livelihoods.
The project focuses on demand-driven research and different methods of extension delivery that facilitate the dissemination of technologies to farm households, farmer-based organisations and out-growers of nucleus farms.
There were practical sessions for the participants on the mixing of gari, yoghurt, Chelsea bums, doughnuts and biscuits with the OFSP flour.
Written by: Daniel Oduro Mensah