Indigenous floriculture crops | Indigenous/traditional African vegetables |
Sweet Potatoes |
Biotechnology |Commercial Vegetables_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Team leader vegetable agro-processing:Ms Mmathaha Mosala
Project Leader: Orange-fleshed sweet potato breeding: S. Laurie
Project Team: S Laurie, M Mosala, L Sediane and K Mugodo (ARC-AE)
Malnutrition is prevalent in South Africa amongst children between ages 4 and 8 years. As a result, β-carotene rich orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) cultivars are being presented locally and internationally in light of their contribution to decrease the commonness of vitamin A deficiency. OFSP has a tremendous potential for agro-processing due to the variety of products that can be processed out of it. Though OFSP is not a common commodity in South Africa, it is essential that OFSP characteristics are investigated to determine their suitability for processing of flour and extruded products. Hence the need for South Africa to exploit this advantage. Besides, previous research focused on converting OFSP into various products.
However, little has been reported about the relationship between processing methods, sensory characteristics and the physico-chemical parameters of the storage roots.
The results could assist OFSP breeders, food product development researchers as well as agricultural engineers to understand the influence of the physical and chemical composition of OFSP on nutritional quality of processed products to predict consumer acceptance. This project aims to develop nutritionally balanced OFSP varieties that are also suitable for agro-processing. An appropriate solar drier will also be developed for optimizing OFSP flour production and extruded food products due to the high cost of electricity in South Africa. Solar driers have been successfully used in developing countries like Nigeria and Ghana which receive solar radiation of 5.5 KWhm-3 and 5.2 KWhm-3 . Considering that South Africa receives an average of 5.5 KWhm-3 , solar drying is a solution applicable to South Africa. The use of solar drying for OFSP flour production can assist farmers to provide a sustainable and climate smart solution for the drying operation. Local OFSP farmers and agro-processors are expected to benefit from these technologies in terms of increasing OFSP production as well as income generation derived from processing of various OFSP products. Increased production of OFSP varieties will greatly contribute towards addressing malnutrition and food insecurity in South Africa.