Orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) is an excellent source of beta-carotene, which becomes vitamin A in the body. The crop can thus be a lifesaver for children during their first 1000 days, when vitamin A is essential for the development of good eyesight and good health. Vitamin A is also vital for breastfeeding mothers or women in their late pregnancy.
In an effort to reduce vitamin A deficiency in vulnerable households in sub-Sahara Africa, the International Potato Center (CIP) and partners distributed OFSP planting material to mothers and provided them with nutrition education and agronomic training. The aim was to convince and enable smallholder farmers to grow and consume OFSP, and thereby reduce the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency. But those farmers need to maintain their own planting material for subsequent growing seasons if their families are going to enjoy the health benefits of OFSP in the long term. And they did. Read more