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Maria Andrade inspects roots in Mozambique

World Food Prize Laureate Maria Andrade talks about her passion for sweetpotato breeding

Dr. Maria Andrade was on Tuesday, 28 June announced as one of the four 2016 World Food Prize Laureates during a ceremony at the U.S. State Department. In this audio slideshow, Andrade shares her passion for sweetpotato breeding, and what her achievements mean to her.

Andrade, born in 1958 in Sao Filipe Fogo, Cape Verde Islands received her B.Sc. in 1984 and M.Sc. in Plant Genetics in 1985 from the University of Arizona. With support from USAID, she earned her Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Physiology from North Carolina State University in 1994. She developed a deep interest in biofortified crops after working on root crops in 1985 and conducting her Ph.D research on the sweetpotato, which, she learned, had the potential of providing significant nutritional benefits to malnourished children and women.

Her Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) breeding research began in 1997 in drought-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa with intensive adaptive trials that led to the release of nine drought-tolerant varieties distributed to farmers in Mozambique in 2001. Dr. Andrade developed the “value-chain” approach which incorporated both socio-market and agro-processing strategies to ensure a sustainable program for the long term to address food insecurity, malnutrition, and income generation. 

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