By: S. Olanrewaju Disu
In the Lagos Area Markets, the sweet potatoe is jokingly called the "yam of lagos people". More often than not, the sweet potatoe is purchased and prepared in various forms before being eaten by the populace. Often, it might be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.
The sweet potatoe is the large, thick, sweet and meaty tuberous root of the tropical vine of the same name, with variously shaped leaves and purplish flowers. Botanically, sweet potatoe is called "Ipomoea batatus, Family convolvulaceae" The plant is propagated by stem cutting or vines. It requires fertile, loamy and well drained soils. It does not tolerate unifertile and poor soils. Its planting startswith the onset of the rains until July. The tubers are then harvested when fully formed within three to five months.
Sweet potatoe tubers are rich in starch, However, little or no use is made industrially of the sweet potatoe starch. Vitamins are present, particularly in the yellow-fleshed variety illustrated at the end of this article.
Because of poor storage quality, other root crops e.g. yam and coco-yam, are sometimes more preferred by the populace except the affluent who can afford large refridgerators with storage spaces for uncooked perishable food stuffs.
Daily food sellers make brisk business when sweet potatoe are in season. In addition to being cooked and eaten as vegetable, sweet potatoes are fried for sale by road side food sellers. More sophisticated entreprenuers make them into local "French fries" and potato chips and these are hygenically peacked too. Some other companies process them into flour.
Sweet potatoe tubers