Researchers have advocated the inclusion of orange-fleshed sweet potato puree in bread and other confectioneries to reduce cost.
The researchers at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) and Sano Foods, disclosed that the root crop, due to its availability, short-term and non-requirement of special enzymes, presents cost-saving opportunities to bakers to ensure food affordability for Nigerians.
To them, Nigeria’s wheat importation at 4.2 million metric tonnes yearly, with cost implication of $1.5 billion amid forex crisis, is unacceptable and avoidable.
A kilogramme of wheat currently sells at N280, but that of orange-fleshed sweet potato puree is N180; hence, bakers would reduce the cost of production by N100 on every kilogramme of potato puree used in bread baking, the researchers said.
“The process of converting orange-fleshed sweet potato roots into puree for commercial bread production is simple. And the puree is readily available as there are existing industries in Nigeria,” Dr Oluwatoyin Oluwole, a researcher at the FIIRO said.
The orange-fleshed sweet potato puree has also been used as a functional ingredient for wheat flour substitution in bread and is being promoted as a nutrition intervention crop to tackle Vitamin-A deficiency, a major public health concern of the poorer and food-insecure countries.
Dr Solomon Olufemi Afuape, the head of Iresi outstation, the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike (NRCRI), said competitive advantages of industrialising potato roots for substitution include maturity within three to five months; production in almost all the states in Nigeria; the country’s favourable condition; output of over 4 million tonnes and being the second highest producer in Africa.