Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), an edible starchy stem-tuber crop is an established staple crop in Nigeria and beyond. The various climatic and soil conditions that Nigeria is characterised with which makes the nation a producer of many agricultural produce and one of the leading producers of sweet potato in sub-Saharan Africa producing about 3.5 million metric tons (MT) of sweet potatoes yearly.

More importantly, apart from being a basic food for many people, it is also an essential source of raw material for industries involved in the production of ethanol (alcohol), starch, flour, to mention but a few.

However, it is of great disappointment, that while people are looking for ways to make money, business opportunities buried in the production and processing of sweet potatoes are overlooked. Ignorance concerning its value chain is making a lot of people, farmers and investors alike to miss out of its golden opportunity of employment, generation of income and creation of wealth.

With the disinterest and reduced participation of people in cultivation of crops, agriculture can still be ventured into with the use of your money. Investing in crop production and processing is a wise way of generating income while ensuring financial security. Since sweet potato doesn’t require massive capital investment and can be conveniently grown in various locations in the country including the Southern, Eastern and Middle Belt regions, it is of low-risk. More so, it is of great demand in the local and international markets worldwide.

In the local market here in Nigeria, potato is of higher demand in that while it being cooked as food, it can be processed into various snacks like packaged potato chips and fried potato. Besides, it can be processed and canned into tins for long-term use and preservation.  In the light of technological advancements and global demand, potatoes are now industrially used for/as:

1. Sweet Potato Starch: sweet potato produce are processed and converted into starch for the production of certain noodles. This therefore makes potato have a higher demand in the world market.

2. Sweet Potato Flour: while sometimes being made a substitute for wheat flour, sweet potato flour is used in baking biscuits, bread and other pastries. Likewise, it has a lot of industrial applications in food industry.

3. Sweet Potato Biofuel: Taiwan scientists have discovered and innovated new and more efficient ways to convert sweet potatoes to bioethanol. Bioethanol would be used as a fuel for transportation and most likely, power for machines. This development and application of this new innovation would eliminate greenhouse gases and thus, reduce global warming. All in all, since this form of fuel would be cheaper to produce, sweet potatoes are making life easier for us.

Investment into potato farming also equips farmers involve with the appropriate input needed to prevent spoilage and waste in order to ensure high returns on investment. Consequently, with a ready market, high demand and low capital, investment in sweet potato is a cheap way of unlocking millions.