African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development

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Sweet potato development and delivery in sub-Saharan Africa

J Low, A Ball, S Magezi, J Njoku, R Mwanga, M Andrade, K Tomlins, R Dove, T van Mourik


In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 40% of children under five years of age suffer from vitamin A deficiency. Among several interventions in place to address vitamin A deficiency is biofortification, breeding vitamin A into key staple crops. Staple crops biofortified with beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, are orange in color. Given the natural occurrence of high levels of beta-carotene in many sweet potato varieties, breeding progress for biofortified orange sweet potato (OSP) has been much faster than for the other vitamin A enhanced staples. Nearly 3 million households have been reached with OSP. This paper reviews key factors influencing the uptake of OSP, the breeding investment, five key delivery approaches that have been tested in the region and efforts to broaden government and other stakeholder engagement.

Keywords: Biofortification, Vitamin A, Orange Sweet Potato, Sweetpotato, Micronutrient Deficiency

AJOL African Journals Online