Farmers urges beverage manufacturers to develop white star apple drink

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Lagos- Some farmers on Thursday called on the and beverage manufacturers to harness the potential in African white star apple as food and drink flavour to reduce wastage.

The News Agency of (NAN) reports that white star apple, which is botanically called Chrysophyllum albidum, is also known among Yorubas as `agbalumo’ and among the Igbo as `udara.’

The farmers, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, noted that fruit often waste during peak season, with farmers recording wastages.

A farmer, Mr Semiu Ijadunola, told NAN that unlike other seasonal fruits like oranges, mangoes and cashews, the agbalumo was yet to be processed into juice.

“The fruit is being underutilised because fruit juice manufacturers have not recognised its potential to be used as ingredients.

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“We often harvest them in large quantities during peak seasons but only a few are sold at retail level.

“Most of the harvests are usually left to rot on the farms because of their perishable nature, which usually results in huge losses for us,’’ he said.

In another interview, Mr Moses Abioye, another farmer, said that processing the fruit into juice would improve its value chain and create employment opportunities.

He appealed to youths to advantage of this `untapped’ business idea and initiate attempt to make apple juice from agbalumo.

“Nigerian consumers enjoy the juice variety, which the African white star apple juice can offer.

“Researches have shown that the fruit contains more vitamin C than orange and guava.

“It is also rich in calcium, iron potassium, phosphorous and magnesium,’’ he said.

Abioye berated fruit sellers, who often hid the identity of the home-grown ‘agbalumo’, pretending to have imported it from Benin Republic.

He remarked that attitude often glorifies imported goods and farm produce as superior to those manufactured and cultivated in Nigeria.

“Whenever we supply our produce to fruit sellers at markets, we often hear them telling buyers that the fruits come from Ajase in Benin Republic.

“Unfortunately, agbalumo is best grown in Southern part of Nigeria,’’ he said (NAN)