The under-rated sweet potatoes have the capacity of increasing food security in the country because it produces well with few inputs, and they are rich in vitamin A plus other essential minerals.
The Nakuru County expert on sweet potatoes, Peter Gaturuku said they are not only easy to cultivate even in poor soils where other crops such as maize and beans were unlikely to flourish.
He said with the high cost of living many families have turned to versatile sweet potatoes for breakfast because they are not only affordable but easy to cook since they are simply boiled without the requirement of frying.
Interviewed by KNA at the county offices Tuesday, Gaturuku said sweet potatoes grow fast in warm weather and the vines can be planted at any time of the year, and require little rainfall.
Moreover, he said the tubes could assist in improving the health of children besides providing a rich source of energy for the entire family.
The officer said, “Sweet potato is an important root crop in the country. It is mainly grown by small-scale farmers. It can produce well with few inputs and is a food security and income generating crop.”
However, he urged farmers to switch to the orange-fleshed sweet potato varieties because they are rich in beta carotene; a precursor of vitamin A.
Gaturuku said vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and under-nutrition generally limit the intellectual potential of individuals affected, in the process undermining their economic and social development.
Additionally, he said the tube can be dried up in the sun and kept for long periods of time or it can be milled into flour for baking after shredding and the milling can be done at an ordinary posho mill.
By Veronica Bosibori