Over 100 participants from 14 sub-Saharan countries, and other guests from Europe, Asia, Northern America, and Latin America participated in the 6th Annual Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative (SPHI), which took place from 29 September to 2 October 2015, in Kigali, Rwanda. The meeting was opened officially by a representative of the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr. Geraldine Mukeshimana.
The theme of this year’s meeting was ‘Together, 10 million by 2020’. This theme refers to the overall goal of the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative which is to reduce malnutrition and increase incomes among at least 10 million sub-Saharan African households through improved varieties of sweetpotato and their diversified use by 2020. Participants presented and discussed progress in sweetpotato science and delivery along the entire sweetpotato value chain and showcased innovations and impact case studies in agriculture, nutrition and health innovations.
They also outlined the state of sweetpotato investment in sub-Saharan Africa. Other highlights of the meeting were the I Love Sweetpotato public exhibition, featuring product displays and demonstrations; a field trip to view the use of remote sensing as a monitoring tool for smallholder farming; the announcement of winners of the SPHI 2015 photo contest; and the re-launch of the new-look Sweetpotato Knowledge Portal, which is a user-driven online platform for discovery, acquisition and sharing of information about sweetpotato research and project activities in sub-Saharan Africa. This year’s exhibition was also attended by Barbara Wells, Director General of CIP, and Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director of Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), who is the co-leader of the SPHI Steering Committee.