Worldwide, sweet potato is the sixth most important food crop after rice, wheat, potatoes, maize and cassava. But in developing countries like Nigeria, it is the fifth most important food crop. More than 105 million metric tons are produced globally each year; 95% of which are grown in developing countries.
Orange-fleshed sweet potato can grow at altitudes ranging from sea level to 2,500 meters. It requires fewer inputs and less labour than other crops such as maize and tolerates marginal growing conditions (e.g., dry spells, poor soil).
Orange-fleshed orange-fleshed sweet potato is an important source of beta-carotene, the precursor to Vitamin A. Just 125g of fresh orange-fleshed sweet potato roots from most orange-fleshed varieties contain enough beta-carotene to provide the daily pro-vitamin A needs of a preschooler. Orange-fleshed sweet potato is also a valuable source of vitamins B, C, and E, and it contains moderate levels of iron and zinc.
Why orange-fleshed Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes?
- They are rich in Vitamin A, which provides a much-needed boost to the immune system and helps prevent serious conditions like early-onset blindness
- Orange-fleshed Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are not susceptible to the many common pests which often blights crops in Nigeria.
- It can be processed in too many food products like OFSP Puree, Bread Loaf, pap etc. Click Here to view our OFSP products
Here’s how to Grow Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes.
First, we start with land clearing and preparation. Orange-fleshed sweet potato yields well if the land is well tilled, prepared and oxygenated. Clearing the land requires cutting, packing and threshing bushes. This could be done mechanically or manually. After clearing, the land should be ploughed, harrowed and ridged. Orange-fleshed sweet potato thrives on ridges than on flat land.
Ploughing, harrowing, ridging and boom-spraying with herbicides is necessary to prepare the land adequately for propagation. Similarly, weed control starts with land preparation. Compatible pre-emergence (application before weeds sprouting) herbicides are always applied on the land while harrowing and ridging. If handled well at this stage, there might be no need to weed the farm, for Orange-fleshed sweet potato is a cover crop that suppresses weeds if recommended plant density is observed. Weed infestations, experts at the Weeds Management Project of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, have said, could reduce harvest by 50% or more if the infestation is not prevented and well managed.
Orange-Fleshed Sweet potato planting materials are about the cheapest of all farm inputs. Vines could be bought from Farmorganics at a ridiculously cheap price. Vines are cut into a smaller length of about 25cm and are buried on well-prepared ridges at the outset of rainfalls in March or April. The number of vines planted also determines the cost of weed control and yield. If the farm is adequately populated, the yield would be maximised, weed would be minimised and cost would be moderate.
Want an expert guide on Orange fleshed sweet potatoes farming? Click Here