The Program of Accompanying Agricultural Research for Innovation (PARI) supports research activities to generate knowledge that informs the direction of investment and other action for innovation. Its work is expected to support the improvement of food and nutrition security and sustainable agricultural value chains in the Green Innovation Centres (GIC) in eleven African countries and India. This report presents the outcome of an original study on the suitability of potato varieties to processing techniques and a market prospection study on the possibility of introducing potato varieties into different market niches. It also analysed the best storage options for potato tubers at farmers’ and vendors’ levels; and another market prospection study to highlight the opportunities and constraints that may contribute to the sales of the potato product. Activity 1 investigated the suitability of potato varieties (Cipira, Jacob2005, Mumbi, Banso, Belo, Mondial and Dosa) to processing techniques. The study was conducted in Yaounde using available cultivars in the basins of Cameroon (North West, West, Adamawa, and Far North regions). The evaluation of potato processing techniques include the measurements of external parameters (tuber size, shape, eye-depth, number of eyes), internal parameters (Dry matter (total solids), moisture content, soluble solids, pH, titratable acidity) and sensory properties (colour, texture, flavour and overall acceptability) and percentage peel loss during processing. The assessment revealed that, the quality of potato tuber affects its aptness for processing and appreciation of its products by consumers. The most desired processed forms are the boiled tubers and fries. Cipira had the highest dry matter content (26.45%). While Cipira and Mumbi were most ideal for fries with respect to size; Banso and Belo were ideal for crisps. On the other hand, Dosa and Jacob were better suited for mashing and roasting while tubers of Mondial were suitable for boiling and more appropriate to be consumed in the form of salads. The best overall acceptability of potato fries and boiled potatoes was recorded for products made with Cipira, Banso and Mumbi varieties. Each of these varieties is therefore, of importance as its cultivation can target a processing technique.
Study two covered a market prospection for possible introduction of potato varieties into different market niches. The inventory helped to identify the various forms in which these products appear in markets, restaurants and supermarkets. Results of market analysis show that Irish potato is most consumed in the form of fries, mostly on the roadsides (tourne-dos) and in African restaurants for an average price of 1200 FCFA. Irish potato production and consumption were found to constitute a high-income generation activity in Cameroon, especially in the cities. The study on household consumers’ awareness and behaviour towards Irish potato purchase and consumption sampled educated families, who attained at least high school level. An assessment of Irish potato acquisition mechanisms for people from producing and non-producing areas showed that majority of households that had an Irish potato farm were from potato production zones who received it through gifts from their home villages. Another means of acquisition is through purchases on the spot (cash markets), with more households from non-producing areas buying potato weekly, and those from production zones do purchase their potato from wholesale suppliers. People from producing areas could easily distinguish better varieties using characteristics like colour and flesh texture. This shows that social relationship is important in potato acquisition in the households from producers. Diversities of potato processing techniques were observed in the production area, prominent meals prepared from Irish potato included potato hotpot, fried (chips), boiled, porridge, pounded, mashed potato balls and Salad. Therefore, dishes vary and people from non-producing areas are already adopting and eating some new potato dishes. Of the sampled meals, it was observed that potato traditional meals in the form of pounded potato, and porridge were mostly prepared by households from producing areas. Thus, the predisposition of tradition food systems and preferences stimulates people to consume specific. Our study showed that information’s on potato production, and consumptions are shared within the social links.
Study three focused on the characterization Irish potato tuber and the analysis of best storage and transformation options. The result suggested that the crop was less cultivated in the Adamawa Region (0.25 to 1 ha). The main varieties produced are Cardinal, Bafoussam, Dosa, Panamera and Cipira though most consumers (37.93% respondents). Potato processors are mostly youths (66.66%) and the activity is mainly carried out by women (61.54%). Reasons that guide the choices of consumers are the starch content (56.52%), taste (52.17%), tuber size (17.39%), availability (13.04%) and colour (13.04%). Physicochemical analysis showed that diameter and length of Panamera were respectively higher (51.45 mm and 67.9 mm) than the other cultivars. Dry matter varied between 19.70 and 29.88% and Dosa had the highest dry matter (29.88%) and is best suitable for frying. Moreover, Cipira and Bafoussam seemed to be best for the other preparation processes. Sensory analysis of chips also revealed Cipira as the best. Hence, our study suggests that this variety is the most appreciated by consumers. In Yaounde, a study on the trends of Irish potato supply and out-of-home consumption of different potato recipes was realized. Results reveal that all classes of the urban population (from potato production zones or not) are more and more consuming potatoes out of home, especially for members from homes where there is not enough time to prepare food for many. Motivations for out-of-home potato consumption are cultural habits or interactions, low-cost and availability of a variety of potato meals in restaurants.
Study four was on market prospection to highlight the opportunities and constraints that may favour or hinder the sales of Irish potato derived products. This was also aimed at complementing the ongoing GIZ/GIC project on potato value chain development in view to guarantee future perspectives and potential collaboration with GIZ/GIC projects, which are currently focusing on introducing and valorising high-yielding varieties and seed multiplication. Our findings show that this activity will inevitably increase the quantity and sales of potatoes that will be available in the markets in the coming years, thus creating income for women and men alike. Sales points were of all levels and standards, meaning that potato is highly consumed in urban areas of Cameroon. Therefore, potato transformation and marketing could serve as a job creation and incoming generation activity for youths in Cameroon.
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