The Department of Agricultural Engineering under the School of Agriculture has held a training programme on processing Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) with gari.
The Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato known locally as “Apomudzin Santom" was discovered by a team of researchers from the Department of Agricultural Engineering.
OFSPS is Rich in Vitamin A
Welcoming participants to the training, the Dean, School of Agriculture, Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako, stated that due to high the prevalence ‘Vitamin A’ deficiency in Ghana, there was a rise in the incidence of blindness, child mortality, maternal mortality and other related diseases. In order to curb this situation, he recommended the consumption of OFSP which he explained was rich in “Vitamin A”. “Planting and processing the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato in Gari-processing will not only provide good nutrients to the body but will also create job opportunities for the individual who will pursue it,” he pointed out.
OFSPS Can be Processed with other Food Items
The Principal Investigator of the research project, Prof. Ernest Ekow Abano, indicated that investigation has revealed that people prefer consuming processed OFSP mixed with other food products hence the decision to use the fortified food method. He described the fortified food method as a way of adding OFSP in the regular food that people eat such as gari, kenkey, fruit juice, pastries among others.
Highlighting the importance of using the OFSP, he noted that “they are rich in beta-carotene; serves as colourant, and the production and processing of OFSP and provide job opportunities.” He advised gari-processors to keep the OFSP fortified-gari from direct sunlight and cover it with light-tight materials when being carried or transported.
Prof. Ernest Ekow Abano commended the participants for their contribution and participation in the training. He noted that apart from reducing the Vitamin A Deficiency and its’ related issues with OFSP fortified food in Ghana, it was important to consider the production and processing of OFSP as full business opportunities.
Benefits and Dynamics of Fermentation Processing of OFSP
Speaking on the benefits and dynamics of fermentation in processing OFSP with cassava, a member of the research team, Dr. Enoch Quayson, stated that it was very important to allow the materials to go through fermentation because that would help drain out water and cause certain chemical reactions. According to him, “it will help give good taste and aroma to the food; increase beta-carotene and give appealing yellow colour to food.” He cautioned that though fermentation was indispensable, it should not exceed the stipulated time before frying.
Business Potential of OFSP
On the issues of business, a member of the research team, Dr. Martin Bosompem, admonished the participants to always determine the key actors of OFSP in gari-processing; identify the key factors to consider in gari-processing and to keep simple records of their day-to-day activities. Stressing on record keeping, he said that it was the only means through which one could realise his/her returns in business. “Always remember, we trade for profit, but not with the interest of cheating others or being cheated,” he advised.
Emphasising the record keeping, another member of the research team, Mrs. Margaret Forson, advised the participants that for the purpose of determining one’s profits and losses, they must always keep take notes of every activity as far as the processing was concerned.
Participants for the training programme were made up of OFSP growers from Domenase in Komenda and gari processors from Duakor community near UCC South Campus.