Power up on potatoes, cassava and rice

STEFAN HEMMINGS, The Gleaner's Silver Pen awardee for April, is again urging Agriculture Minister Dr Christopher Tufton to explore the growing of potato as an alternative to cassava and rice.

Hemmings, a medical doctor, whose winning Letter of the Day was published on April 26, told The Gleaner yesterday that the nutritional capacity and safety of potato made it the ideal crop to be grown anywhere in the world, especially at a time when food security is paramount.

He said the minister should consult with his advisers and international experts, if necessary, to examine the potato's virtues, growth time, fertiliser requirements and crop yield per acre.
Comparative analysis

Hemmings said a comparative analysis should be done with potato, rice and cassava to determine what was the most feasible crop to meet the requirements of the country at this time.

"It's more nutritious than rice, more nutritious than cassava as far as I am aware. You can eat potatoes alone with a glass of milk a day," he said, adding that it contained half the daily requirements of vitamin C, and 22 different amino acids.

In his letter to The Gleaner, Hemmings had pointed out that the United Nations was observing 2008 as the 'International Year of the Potato'.

He said the UN hoped that, through the promotion and heightening of the virtues of the potato, it would contribute to the achievement of its Millennium Development Goals. These include alleviating global poverty, improving international food security and sustaining economic development.

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