Food scientists in Ghana are asking the Ministry of Local Government to consider serving orange-fleshed sweet potato as one of the meals for Ghana’s School Feeding Programme.
Dr. Edward Carey of the International Potato Centre wants the School Feeding Programme to add sweet potato to the children’s daily menu.
“With its high nutritional value for children, it can serve as a substitution on the school feeding menu”. He said.
The proposal comes as concerns are raised over the quality of food served to children under the programme faced with funding constraints.
Dr. Edward Carey is worried the crop has been neglected in Ghana despite its health and other potential benefits.
“It’s been a neglected crop; we have realized the potential value of it for health and income. So we need to give it a boost,” he said.
Ashanti Region for instance, produces 620 metric tons of sweet potatoes out of 131, 990 metric tons, the least in the country.
Food Scientist at the Food and Technology department of KNUST, Dr. Faustina Wiereko-Menu who has been explaining the nutritional benefits of potatoes to children wants more children to consume potatoes as the Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potato is said to contain high bitter carotene.
Carotene is high in Vitamin A which tackles deficiencies of Vitamin A especially in children.
“Studies have shown that your intellectual potentials decrease when you have Vitamin A deficiency, ones it is decreased; the future economic development will be affected”. Dr Wireko-Manu explained.
A research by the International Potato Center in Peru expects 500,000 households in Ghana to consume sweet potato by 2020.
The Centre is currently working with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in efforts to realize the dream.
At a ten-day training program in Kumasi, participants were taking through how to prepare simple local food with sweet potato as substitutes.