A research scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Food Research Institute (CSIR-FRI), Dr. John Edem Kongor, is urging players within the agribusiness industry especially food processors and value chain actors to process Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) into flour as a value addition component to what they produce to sustain consistent consumption.
He said the traditional methods used to prepare the OFSP including frying, roasting boiling may eventually create boredom and draw away consumers as a result of that, processing the produce into flour and adding it to all kinds of foods should be the new way to sustain consumption.
OFSP is a special type of bio-fortified or another variety of sweet potato that contains 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 research scientist further explained that one of the limitations of the OFSP is its short-term perishability which he said could be resolved by “processing it into flour” adding that such a move brings about “the OFSP remaining in good condition for a long time, foster household food and nutrition diversification as well as additional household income”.
Dr. Kongor spoke on the topic “Turning OFSP into Flour as a value addition component”, 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.
Additionally, Dr. Kongor said “when the OFSP are processed into flour, they turn to reduce transportation cost in that, they become less bulky to load into a vehicle unlike when they are not processed”.
With regard to its nutritional benefits, the research scientist stated that, the OFSP contained beta carotene which changes to vitamin A when consumed and serves to enhance growth of children and adults especially women.
“When children take 100 grams of vitamin A daily which is found in the OFSP, it will enhance their growth. So, it means, the OFSP is very crucial to our health especially our children and women, he said.
For her part, Dr. Mrs. Charlotte Oduro-Yeboah, CSIR-FRI MAG Focal Person, also stressed the importance of processing the OFSP into flour and urged the participants to consider fortifying their processed foods.
Fortified foods are foods that have nutrients added to them that do not naturally occur in the foods.
She explained adding value, improving the vitamins and micronutrients and increasing profits among several advantages of fortification.
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 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 a five-year initiative 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 fortification of gari, yoghurt, Chelsea bums, doughnuts and biscuits with the OFSP flour.
Written by: Daniel Oduro Mensah