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Sweet Potato, Ipomoea batatas is a tuber crop that is common in northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large. The edible tubers in contrast to the Irish potatoes are sweet to taste and come in different shapes and colors. The sweet potato tubers can be white, orange, or purple.
Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C, B6, Potassium and Manganese. It is also an excellent source of Beta-Carotene.
Uses of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are majorly consumed in Nigeria as fried, in wedges, or as thinly sliced chips. Also, they can be eaten as boiled, alone, or in porridge or pounded into a swallow. Recently, Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes (OFSP) fortified with Vitamin A has been developed to help combat malnutrition and Vitamin A deficiency.
Growing Sweet Potatoes in Northern Nigeria
Potatoes can be grown in any season.
Potatoes thrive well in loose, well-drained soil that does not log water.
Sweet potatoes can be grown using vines or snips. Vines are the cuttings of the stems while snips are potatoes that have sprouted. To sprout potatoes, leave them in a cool and obscure place for up to a week. Plant the vine cuttings, with at least 3 nodes, or snips in ridges with a spacing of 1m/1m.
Weeding the ridges at least once within the first month is necessary. Weed preferably with hand to avoid damage to forming tubers. Keep soil watered and aerated to enable root penetration for tuber development. Moderate watering during the later stages to avoid tuber rot. Dress ridges with manure for nutrients.
Tubers should be matured after 3-4 months. Ensure enough attention when harvesting potatoes to avoid breakage and blemishes. Keep in a cool and dry place to avoid spoilage and fungal growth.
States Sweet Potatoes are Predominantly Found in Northern Nigeria
Potatoes are grown in the states of Sokoto, Kaduna, Zamfara, Kano, Benue, Niger and others.
Major Markets of Sweet Potatoes in Northern Nigeria
|KADUNA||Kasuwan Dan Magaji, Kasuwan Sabon Gari, Kasuwan Samaru, Kasuwan Giwa.|
|KANO||Kasuwan Wanbai, Kasuwan Wudil, Kasuwan Danbatta, Kasuwan Yan kaba, Kasuwan Sabon gari.|
|NASARAWA||Tsohon Kasuwa, Sabon Kasuwa|
|NIGER||Kasuwan Gwari, Sabon Kasuwan|
|KWARA||Mandate Market, New Kulende Market, Owode Market, Ipata Market, Ganmo Market, Alagbado Market, Omu-Aran Market, Yoruba Road Market Ilorin, Baboko Market, Kankatu Market.|
|PLATEAU||Kasuwan Building Material, Kasuwan Farin Gada.|
|YOBE||Kasuwan Tashar Kuka, Kasuwan Jaji Maje, Kasuwan Garin Alkali, Kasuwan Yusufari, Kasuwan Yunusari.|
|BENUE||Wadata Main Market, Otukpo Main Market, Gboko Markets, Mbatyav District Market, Tarukpe Market, Ortese market, Akpagher market.|