Master bakers have recently embraced adopting bio-fortified Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) in bread and other confectioneries to keep prices affordable to Nigerians as major inputs become costlier.
Low production of wheat in Nigeria, falling value of naira and heavy dependence on importation of other inputs in bakery businesses have made operations difficult for bakers and made prices of break, especially, unaffordable to the poor.
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The National Secretary, Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Jude Okafor, while speaking on the decision to adopt OFSP puree, said at 20 per cent inclusion, the colour, texture and taste of bread will be very good.
Apart from health benefits to consumers, he added, the substitution helps bakers to marginally reduce cost of production per loaf in a latest analysis based current prices of inputs and their substitutes.
‘‘Application of OFSP puree in wheat flour for bread reduces the usage of milk, sugar and wheat flour.
“On every 50kg bag of wheat flour, 1.5kgs of sugar is saved, 10kgs of wheat flour is substituted with the puree and N180 is saved on every kilogramme substituted. So, using 10kgs of OFSP puree with 40kgs of wheat flour reduces cost of production by N1800, apart from reduction in the quantity of sugar used,’’ Okafor explained.
He added that bread shelf life is elongated and 500grm of milk is saved per 50kg-bag of flour when 10kg puree is included.
He expressed optimism that the potential demand from master bakers would deepen production, calling on the CBN to incorporate sweet potato into the ABP scheme to maximise production since there are processors and off-takers of the bye-products.
Meanwhile, the President of the Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (POFAN), Mr Daniel Okafor, said farmers were ready for a revolution of OFSP production if master bakers were ready to off-take its puree.