EXAMINING THE UNDEREXPLOITED VALUES OF COCOYAMS (COLOCASIA AND XANTHOSOMA SPECIES) FOR ENHANCED HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY, NUTRITION AND ECONOMY IN NIGERIA
Cocoyams are among the tuberous roots very well adapted to most agro-ecological zones of Nigeria. Yet despite the wide adaptability as well as nutritional and economic values of the crop, cocoyams have received minimal interest and attention by producers, consumers, and even researchers. Even with insignificant development attention, Nigeria still remains the largest producer of the crop in the world with the annual output of four million metric tons as against the potential 160 million metric tons/annum. This further indicates that the potentialities of the crop for food security, income generation, and nutritional enhancement in the households are grossly underutilized. Possessing such rare attributes such as yielding 30-60 tons/ha, being rich in minerals and vitamins and very low in starch grains, cocoyam remains a very indispensable yet neglected food crop especially for predominantly malnourished rural households in Nigeria. Research efforts at National Root Crops Research Institute in Umudike, Nigeria have led to development of several technologies aimed at adding value to cocoyam production, processing and utilization. This paper reviews the rich underexploited production, nutritional, and economic values of cocoyam in Nigeria. The paper also recommends that conscious reorientation and mobilization of farmers interest in cocoyam through initiatives and campaigns, designing and implementing pragmatic research program dissemination of the improved technologies, as well as advocacy support for overall development of cocoyams are effective strategies for optimizing utilization of the abundant potentials associated with cocoyam in Southeastern Nigeria.
Ekwe, K.C., Nwosu, K.I., Ekwe, C.C. and Nwachukwu, I. (2009). EXAMINING THE UNDEREXPLOITED VALUES OF COCOYAMS (COLOCASIA AND XANTHOSOMA SPECIES) FOR ENHANCED HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY, NUTRITION AND ECONOMY IN NIGERIA. Acta Hortic. 806, 71-78
underutilized, perception, livelihoods, advocacy, potentialities