It is planting season again! Rainfall is here and farmers across Rwanda are on their toes to catch up with the time to plant. It is the perfect time for planting Sweetpotato. As is the mandate, International Potato Center (CIP) and its implementing partners kick off this year’s agricultural season with vine distribution to the small holder farmers in the districts where it operates.
On Tuesday October 17 CIP joined citizens of Gashaki sector in Musanze District, in the Northern province of Rwanda, where vine distribution commenced for the season A 2018. Together with DERN (CIP’s implementing partner in this district), a total of 3,584 kilograms of vines were distributed that day.
Four hundred and forty-eight (448) households received 8 kilograms each of Kabode variety of Orange-fleshed Sweetpotatoes. Local leaders were also presence to help in this activity.
All first time beneficiaries of OFSP receive indepth explanations about the crop. They are also sensitised about its health benefits to the entire household, how to plant the vines and other benefits apart from consuming the sweetpotato roots. Most beneficiaries expressed excitement after they get the vines. Those from Musanze, having been their first time to receive these vines, a lot of them showed the eagerness to plant them and see the results.
One grateful Dorothy Maniragena seems to have received an answer to her long-time problem. Over the years, she and her family have been planting traditional sweetpotato varieties which she said rotted easily and gave less yields after months of planting.
OFSP is indeed an answer to these mothers as it takes just four months to mature and gives twice more yields than the white-fleshed sweetpotato varieties.
“I am so happy today to receive these vines. I am so grateful to CIP and USAID for thinking of people like me, who if not for the Feed the Future project, would have never seen this life changing opportunity to grow these sweetpotato varieties. I am sure my children and entire household will not run out of food from today,” said Maniragena.
CIP’s Rwanda orange-fleshed sweetpotato project, funded by USAID under the Feed the Future portfolio, embarked on a mission to improve the livelihoods of people in September 2015. The project is being implemented in 10 districts where households with children below five years, expectant and breast-feeding mothers are targeted. Why these categories? It is known that from Orange-fleshed Sweetpotatoes, a child can attain vitamin A which is important for their eye sight and general growth. Breast-feeding and expectant mothers are also able to get carbohydrates and other vitamins out of these roots.