TIGERNUTS , botanically known as “CyperusEsculentus’ grows as grass .It is commonly known as “akihausa” in Igbo language, Omu in Yoruba, and “aya” in Hausa language. It is rich in vitamin, highly nutritional and provides income to families and to the nations. It belongs to the classification of tuber crops.
Agriculturist, Nneka Okafor said that tigernuts is grown mostly in the northern part of Nigeria but it is seen in all States of the federation.
Researchers have also discovered how important the crop is to human health . They said the crop could be a vital raw material for the Nigeria’s cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
The values of tigernuts are much. A Pharmacist, Uzo Ifeh said that ,tigernuts contains vitamin E and can function as an anti-oxidant; allergen and gluten-free. This makes it very good for the body system of celiac patients; has high amount of resistant starch, which is a valuable prebiotic; controls diabetes. It also contains insoluble fibers that aid the stability of the blood sugar level; repair tissues and bones and lower bad cholesterol.
Research findings showed that one serving of tigernuts, 30gram contain 120 calories, 19 grams cabohydrates, two grams proteins, seven grams fat, fiber, 1.8 miligrams iron, 28 miligrams magnesium, 1.1 milligrams zinc, 215 milligrams potassium and one miligrams vitamin B 6.
A dealer in tigernuts and an agriculturist, Benedette Edeh said that it can be eaten raw or grounded and taken as beverage “It helps in digestion. Unlike in the past, many people are getting to know about the health value of tigernuts, and the monetary benefits. This development has increased sales and cultivation because many farmers are seeing the hidden potentials of cultivating the commodity.”
She said researchers have confirmed that the crop can be used in the production of biofuel, which was proposed to be a source of energy to that would be safe to use in the environment.
A trader, agriculturist, Sunday Agu said that, “Tigernut is efficient in changing the economic fortune of rural farmers with the help of proper guidance.. He appealed to the government to encourage its commercial cultivation, in order to boost the economy, as part of efforts to diversify the economy. It is also capable of creating more jobs and encourage those already cultivating the crop.
Market survey showed that dealers of tigernuts beverages are making brisk business. One of them ,Ebere Onah, who spoke to National light said that she sells an average of 20 bottles daily and a bottle, small eva costs N500 and that the patronage is high.
An Hausa trader, who sells tigernuts said it’s a very good business.” I started this business since when I was small.Over 10 years now. I am married and I feed my family from there. It is a good business”, he said.