Akwa Ibom: FG tasks bakers, caterers to use OFSP puree to reduce price hike on bread

The federal government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has sensitised bakers and caterers in Akwa Ibom state on the benefits of the inclusion of Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) puree in bread baking.

The director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Hajia Karima Babangida said this in her keynote address at the one-day workshop organised for stakeholders in the baking industry held in De-Wieggan bakery, Ikot Ekpene on Thursday. 

Babangida, who was represented by state coordinator, Green House in Akwa Ibom Dr Uyobong Uko, said that in the light of the recent increase in the price of bread and some staples, OFSP puree offers suitable alternative for composite bread baking and other confectionery.

She added that it would help to bring down the cost of production of bread through 40 per cent inclusion of potato puree.

“In the pursuit of food security and nutrition for our country, OFSP is readily available to be utilised and processed into various products, to achieve these value addition objectives.

“There are lot of product development potentials from Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato needed to be brought to the awareness of bakers and caterers in the catering and baking industry,” Babangida said.

The director said the inclusion of the potato puree in bread baking would look at the direction of product development to create more jobs for young Nigerians.

According to her, apart from creation of jobs for the teeming population, potato in bread baking would also improved on nutritional value as it contains vitamin A nutrient.

“It is very important to look in the direction of product development to create jobs for the teeming youths as well as source of income generation for our women.

“There is no controversy that the health and wealth benefits of OFSP due to its beta carotene content which is a pre-cursor of vitamin A makes it to be adequate food to boost immune system of the elderly and helps in combating Vitamin A deficiency among children,” she said.

She urged participants at the workshop to make good use of the opportunity offered and acquire requisite skill and knowledge to help make food more affordable in the state and country.

In her remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture in Akwa Ibom, Dr Glory Edet, commended the federal government in bringing the workshop to stakeholders in Akwa Ibom.

Edet, who was represented by Mr Solomon Joe, Director, PRS in the ministry said that since almost all the materials used for baking bread were imported, there was need to look inward in potato puree in baking bread.

She said as part of measures to ensure availability, the state government has concluded plan to establish a puree factory in the state.

She urged farmers in the state to commence planting of potatoes in large quantities in the state as it could grow easily across the state.