Improved sweet potato varieties in West Africa

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: International Potato Center

Sweet potato project improves nutrition and incomes

by Samuel Hinneh

Speed read

  • A three-year project has improved sweet potato varieties in West Africa
  • The project combats vitamin A deficiency and boosts yields and incomes
  • But an expert says a major challenge being addressed is post-harvest losses

[ACCRA] Farmers and entrepreneurs in West Africa are benefiting from a project that offers improved sweet potato varieties and market access.

The US$4 million project that began in April 2014 and ended last month (March 2017) was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria.

“Post-harvest experts and food scientists are working with us to develop [new orange fleshed sweet potato] varieties.”

Ernest Baafi, Crops Research Institute, CSIR, Ghana

The other partners include Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles in Burkina Faso, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)–Crops Research Institute in Ghana, and the National Root Crops Research Institute, Nigeria.

The project called Jumpstarting Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato in West Africa through Diversified Markets aimed to establish commercial sweet potato seed systems to provide clean planting materials throughout the year, and develop formal and informal markets for the varieties through participation of farmers in the value chain.

The development and commercialisation of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes would help tackle micro nutrients deficiency, according to the International Potato Center (CIP), the lead organisation of the project, during a field visit to project sites in Ghana on 7 February.
Read the full article: SciDevNet

 

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.