F L Mkandawire, D Kebaki, A Poblete, N Angwenyi, S Mule, T Muchee


The main aim of the paper is to report some practical non-food processing strategies for sweetpotatoes under study at University of Eastern Africa, Baraton (UEAB) in order to exploit the immense potential of the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) for industrialization and development. Results demonstrate this crop has unrivaled potential for value addition along the production, processing, marketing and utilization chain.  Apart from the usefulness of tubers and leaves as  food for both livestock and human beings, dried vines can be bound into decorative panel boards.  This novel usage of the sweet potato will particularly benefit subsistence farmers in sweet potato growing areas to add value to the sweet potato by utilizing an otherwise rejected material, the vines. This would in turn raise the livelihoods of farmers through generation of extra income. As such, the main beneficiary would be the resource challenged African women living in areas where sweet potatoes are grown in sub – Saharan Africa. There is an indication that decorative panels can be bound by any commercial glue or that made from sweet potatoes. Good panels are produced from dried mature vines chopped into 2 cm pieces carefully mixed with an adhesive to make sure that each chip is in contact with the glue.  The materials were placed between an improvised presser made of metal sheets 20 x 20 x 2 cm in size, one at the bottom and the other on top. To prevent the material from sticking on to the board, a thin layer of polythene paper was spread on the upper side of  the bottom plate as well as the lower side of the top plate. The mixture was placed, first from the corners, followed by the edges, then to the center. The metal plates were placed between two wooden blocks and pressed with a two – tone car jack for 30 minutes before it was removed and placed in the oven for slow drying at 800C for 48 hours. The resulting product is the appended panel which can be used for decoration, a picture frame and wall hanging. 


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