By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal
Ilorin – A University of Ilorin lecturer, Prof. Olayinka Karim, says she has succeeded in redesigning traditional Nigerian foods to improve nutritional values and alleviate dietary related diseases.
Karim of the Department of Home Economics and Food Science said while presenting her paper on Friday at the 195th Inaugural Lecture of the University of Ilorin, entitled: “Good foods yesterday, better today, best tomorrow”.
She stated that her research has ensured efforts towards improving the nutritional, sensory qualities and consumer acceptability of some traditional foods to make them better as today’s foods and best for tomorrow.
The nutrition expert explained that she has enriched cassava flour a.ka. Gari with melon seeds, to appeal in sensory qualities and acceptability, and that sweet potato was processed into tapioca as a replacement for cassava.
“The production of sweet-potato-tapioca will not only increase the cassava based products but can boost the nutritional and good security status of the nation today and tomorrow,” she said.
She disclosed that due to the low protein content of yam flour, (elubo), Moringa was added to amala as enrichment, and that there is prospect of production of pasta from yams as evaluated for future foods.
Karim said the country is the 12th largest noodles market in the world with a consumption rate of about 1.67 billion meals in 2010, which has risen to 1.76 billion in 2019.
The don said that her study had therefore indicated that Sweet-potato-noodles can be derived with the highest cooking yield, best nutritional qualities and strength.
She recommended that the country has opportunity to boost the use of locally produced crops as raw materials for the food and industries.
She also said due to the ban on imported rice, the price of the staple food sky-rocketed, adding that her research has led her to produce the Maize-Cassava-Analogule-rice.
Karim explained that the Analogue-rice (AR) is from five blends of maize grits and high quality cassava flour developed, adding that after sampled, it was ranked next to imported rice.
According to her, research has also shown malt drinks are also successfully derived from Ofada rice known as Malted-Ofada rice as it had comparable qualities to malt from maize and sorghum.
Karim said the use of upgraded traditional production technologies, practice of good manufacturing practices and value addition to make the good traditional foods is good for the nation.
“Nigerian foods such as garri; cocoyam; elubo (yam flour); akara; kulikuli; okra and smoked fish, among others, are better and natural nutritious food to enhance good health for today.
“While sweet potato, tapioca, malted-ofada-rice, unripe plantain, cow-pea cake, melon and amaranth, among others, are some best value added traditional foods for tomorrow.’’
Karim, therefore, urged the Federal Government to ensure that food production policies are accompanied with pragmatic food processing issues that are capable of adding value to agricultural food produce.
“Universities and research institutes should endeavour to embark in innovative and problem solving studies that have community impacts rather than research that are only meant for publication and self-development,” said the son.