Experts identify crop specie capable of tackling malnutrition in Nigeria –


Experts and other key stakeholders in agriculture and the food sector have identified African Yam Bean (AYB) as a food security crop with numerous benefits capable of tackling malnutrition in the country.

They made this known during the showcase of foods from AYB at the University of Ibadan (UI), Ibadan.

The event was jointly organised by Peas’ n Chips Entrepreneurs project, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Agroimpact Projects and Empowerment Initiative, UI Women’s Society.

In her opening speech, Dr Sarafat Tijani, the Peas’n Chips Entrepreneurs Project Stakeholder Networking Specialist, says AYB provides an excellent source of protein, especially for vegans and vegetarians.

Tijani said the crop could prevent diabetics, obesity and cancer because it is rich in flavonoid and antioxidants that prevent cancer.

“It promotes weight loss because it’s low in fat but high in fiber making. It also promotes easy digestion and prevents constipation,” she said.

Also speaking, the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, UI, Professor Stella Odebode, said that the AYB has lots of potential in promoting food security in Africa and should be promoted.

She said that the crop is unique and the development could help to promote food and nutrition security in the country.

In the same vein, Dr Morufat Balogun, the Project Research co-investigator IITA/UI, said AYB is a drought-tolerant crop in which the bean and tubers are edible and increase food diversity.

Balogun, a geneticist, added that the crop is resilient because it could stand extreme weather conditions while improving soil fertility.

She said the crop could be used to alleviate malnutrition during food scarcity and could fill food, nutrition and livelihood gaps if policies are put in place to establish sustainable value chains and export markets of the crop.

Balogun said the essence of the workshop was to brainstorm on ways the AYB value chains could be explored to maximise its potential.

Also, a Food Processor and Nutrition Specialist in UI, Mrs Abiodun Adesina, said she had made different delicacies from the AYB, which included moimoi, bean cakes (akara) and bean porridge (adalu).

Adesina, who confirmed the unique potential of the crop in promoting food security, urged people, especially women, to engage in its production.

Similarly, a farmer who planted AYB, Mr Moses Kolawole, said it was a good source of food and income for his family.

“AYB is one of the indigenous foods eaten by our fathers. We implore the governments to support us and researchers to develop the crop and value chains,” he said.

Also, another farmer, Mr Idowu Kazeem, said the AYB could mitigate climate change if it’s intercropped with other crops, adding that it improves soil fertility.

“There is a need to sensitise people on the importance of the crop. We farmers also need support from the government to improve its production,” he said.

Stakeholders who tasted the products made from the AYB confirmed its unique taste and urged the government and other interested parties to promote the production as well as processing of the crop.



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