Biofortified Orange Sweet Potato in Uganda and Mozambique

Nutrition context / project objective

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a major public health concern in poorer countries and accounts for more than 600,000 deaths a year among children under five years of age. In Africa, VAD prevalence is estimated at 42% among children under five. In Uganda 28% of children and 23% of women are estimated to be vitamin A deficient. VAD can impair immunity and cause eye damage that can lead to blindness and even death.

Agricultural approaches, such as biofortification, are now being looked upon to fill the nutritional gap for vitamin A and other nutrients. From 2007-2009, HarvestPlus and its partners disseminated biofortified orange sweet potato (OSP) – to see if VAD could be reduced – to more than 24,000 households in Mozambique and Uganda. Since sweet potato is available for about 10 months a year, it can be a rich and steady source of vitamin A.

Project scope and partner roles

From 2007–2009, HarvestPlus and its partners provided new OSP varieties to more than 10,000 farming households in Uganda for whom sweet potato is a key staple food. The project provided OSP vines for farmers to grow, as well as extension services and nutritional information so that farmers could incorporate OSP into their cropping systems.

Impact

The project resulted in 61% of households adopting the vitamin A-rich OSP to grow on their farms. They were also willing to substitute more than one-third of their traditional white and yellow sweet potato consumption with OSP. This level of substitution was enough to push large numbers of children and women over the threshold, ensuring that their daily requirements for vitamin A were met.

Vitamin A intake increased by two-thirds for older children and nearly doubled for younger children and women by project end. For children 6–35 months, who are especially vulnerable, OSP contributed more than 50% of their total vitamin A intake.

Biofortified Orange Sweet Potato in Uganda and Mozambique

Nutrition context / project objective

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a major public health concern in poorer countries and accounts for more than 600,000 deaths a year among children under five years of age. In Africa, VAD prevalence is estimated at 42% among children under five. In Uganda 28% of children and 23% of women are estimated to be vitamin A deficient. VAD can impair immunity and cause eye damage that can lead to blindness and even death.

Agricultural approaches, such as biofortification, are now being looked upon to fill the nutritional gap for vitamin A and other nutrients. From 2007-2009, HarvestPlus and its partners disseminated biofortified orange sweet potato (OSP) – to see if VAD could be reduced – to more than 24,000 households in Mozambique and Uganda. Since sweet potato is available for about 10 months a year, it can be a rich and steady source of vitamin A.

Project scope and partner roles

From 2007–2009, HarvestPlus and its partners provided new OSP varieties to more than 10,000 farming households in Uganda for whom sweet potato is a key staple food. The project provided OSP vines for farmers to grow, as well as extension services and nutritional information so that farmers could incorporate OSP into their cropping systems.

Impact

The project resulted in 61% of households adopting the vitamin A-rich OSP to grow on their farms. They were also willing to substitute more than one-third of their traditional white and yellow sweet potato consumption with OSP. This level of substitution was enough to push large numbers of children and women over the threshold, ensuring that their daily requirements for vitamin A were met.

Vitamin A intake increased by two-thirds for older children and nearly doubled for younger children and women by project end. For children 6–35 months, who are especially vulnerable, OSP contributed more than 50% of their total vitamin A intake.

CASE STUDIES
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