Kicks off capacity building of women, youths on value chain
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Following issues on boosting food security in the country, the Federal Government, Friday, charged stakeholders on finding solutions to low adoption and utilization of Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato, OFSP, as a way to improve nutrition.
The charge was given by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hajia Karima Babangida, during the kick-off of a ‘One Day Workshop on the Utilization of Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) Train the Trainers (ToT) Skills Acquisition for Youths and Women’ in the South-West region, which was held in Ijebu-Ife, Ogun State.
Babangida who was represented by Adeola Lordbanjou the Programme Manager Root & Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP), said OFSP is readily available to be utilized and processed into various products, to achieve value addition objectives, because there are a lot of product development potentials from OFSP, which people need to be aware.
Speaking on the essence of the one-day training workshop she said the workshop is to bring together policymakers, young men, and women with the aim of training them to become “champions in the act of value addition and product development from OFSP” and also encourage policymakers to support the promotion and utilization of the crop in areas of the school feeding programme, food for the vulnerable and the internally displaced persons.
According to her product development potentials from OFSP starts from confectioneries such as chin-chin, cakes, bread, doughnuts, flour, sweeteners, and juice among others, therefore it is important to look in the direction of product development to create more jobs for the teeming youths as well as a source of income generation for women.
She also maintained that there is no controversy that the health and wealth benefits of OFSP due to its high beta carotene content which is a precursor of Vitamin A makes it be adequate food to boosts immune system of the elderly and helps in combating Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) among children.
She said: “This workshop will also expose the trainees to basic skills and knowledge about the crop’s flexibility in the area of utilization and value addition.
“It is expedient for all participants to make good use of this training to learn, brainstorm and offer suggestions that will help in changing the narratives of low adoption and utilization of OFSP in Nigeria and also based on the skills and knowledge gathered from this workshops; we charge you all to become an advocate of OFSP utilization/product development in your various communities and states.”
She also expressed optimism that at the end of the workshop participants will be better equipped with knowledge and application of skills acquired.
“I hope that by the end of this workshop the purpose for organising this ToT would have been achieved and everyone will be equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge on OFSP utilization and product development to increase adoption of the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato in Nigeria.
“It is expected that this workshop would equip participants with necessary technical information to train other youth and women farmers and processors”, she added.