African Journal of
Food Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Food Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0794
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJFS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 978

Full Length Research Paper

Towards food security and improved nutrition in Nigeria: Taro (Colocacia antiquorum) grit as carbohydrate supplement in energy food drink

Onyenekenwa Cyprian Eneh
Institute for Development Studies, Enugu Campus, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 22 August 2013
  •  Published: 31 October 2013

Abstract

Nigeria’s population growth rates (3.2% in the late 1980s, 2.83% in the early 1990s and 3% in the mid-2000s) have been high, while subsistence farming, characterised byinadequacies, low productivity and high post-harvest losses, dictates rising food insecurity and dwindling nutrition in the country. Taro (Colocasia antiquorum)- a widely cultivated cocoyam, has little demand as food and is vulnerable to post-harvest rot. Towards addressing food insecurity and improving nutrition, this study investigated the potentials of taro as carbohydrate supplement in energy food drink. Chemical analyses were employed to obtain the compositions of prepared taro grit and its energy food drink prepared with sorghum malt grist. A randomly selected panel of tasters appraised the sensory qualities of the prepared taro energy food drink, while a public analyst assessed its fitness to be sold as energy food drink. Results show that the proximate percentagecompositions of taro grit were 77.93% starch and 0.63% fat, among others. These were comparable with the literature values of 63-79% starch and 1.8-2.9% fat for cocoa- a popular carbobydrate supplement in common commercial energy food drinks. The malted sorghum grist had CWE value of 25.82 and HWE value of 59, which fell within the literature acceptable ranges of 16.07-26.54 (CWE) and 17.5-63.1 (HWE). The taroenergy food drink was water-soluble and had similar physico-chemical characteristics and compositions to those of “Ovaltine” (a product of Cadbury Nigeria Plc), which wasused as standard. The panel of tasters could not distinguish the aroma and flavour of the standard from those of the taro energy food drink, which was also adjudged suitable to be sold as energy food drink by the public analyst. It was recommended that the bench-scale production of taro energy food drink should be scaled up to pilot level with a view to commercialising it, in order to minimise post-harvest losses of taro to rot; save storage difficulties, cost and time; increase the nutritional value, presentations and demand for taro; and reduce the price to enhance the affordability of energy food drink in Nigeria.

Key words: Food security, improved nutrition, post-harvest loss, Nigeria, taro,carbohydrate supplement, energy food drink.