Malnutrition Empowering Novel Agri-Business Led Employment Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (ENABLE TAAT) has recently developed Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) species to tackle malnutrition and reduce diabetes in Africa.
Mr. Murtalab Adedamola, ENABLE TAAT Field Trainer at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), said the development of the potato species was one of the plans of IITA aimed at combating malnutrition and attaining food security in Africa. OFSP contains a lot of water, Vitamin A, carotene and a low level of sugar.
In developing countries where vitamin A deficiency is rampant especially among children, consumption of orange-fleshed sweet potato is a good solution. Vitamin A helps improve resistance to infectious disease, increases morbidity, prevents dry eyes, and reduces mortality in pregnant women and lactating mothers.
According to him, OFSP has two varieties – King J and Mothers’ Delight both which can be used for baking cake, snacks, and bread among other uses.
Murtalab Adedamola while advising farmers to always apply NPK fertilizer to the crop after two weeks of planting, said the growth of OFSP continues even after harvesting and consumption is good for children and diabetic patients because of its low level of sugar.
It is possible to improve vitamin A status, increase the bio-availability of different micro-nutrients, reduce vitamin A deficiency, and reduce child mortality rate by 23 to 30% using OFSP.
Orange-fleshed sweet potato is a low priced crop, which is part of staple foods in most of sub-Saharan Africa that can be a year-round source of vitamin A.