It is with great sadness to announce that one of the great OFSP champions, Irene de Souza is no more, having passed away after a brief illness at 66 years of age. No one in the OFSP value addition community in Mozambique saw this coming. CIP Mozambique first interacted with Mrs. Souza in 2008 when she was working at USAID Mozambique as an Activity Manager for a bilateral project implemented by the International Potato Center (CIP)-Mozambique. Her passion and enthusiasm of OFSP whilst at USAID compelled CIP Mozambique to name one of the fifteen drought tolerant OSFP varieties released in 2011 Irene. Today, the variety Irene tops the charts in terms adoption, productivity and spread in Mozambique and beyond.
Upon her retirement from USAID in 2011, her love for OFSP drove Mrs. Souza to open an agro-processing company specializing in creating different OFSP recipes and products. She also engaged in advocacy work at higher levels of production, consumption, and processing of OFSP in Mozambique. She often participated in events demonstrating different food products from OFSP accompanied by nutritional information and food handling procedures. Many farmers near Maputo city supplied OFSP roots to her business. Mrs. Irene de Souza lived and breathed OFSP – grew, talked, dressed, drove, ate, drank, and even decorated her house with OFSP. Her legacy as a champion of OFSP in Mozambique will be remembered by publishing her OFSP recipe book. May her soul rest in eternal peace!!
Contributed by her great friend, Maria Andrade of CIP