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SPHI Brief 2013: Scaling up technologies in orange-fleshed sweetpotato using the Agricultural Innovation System

This brief reports on a project aimed at using an Agricultural Innovations Systems (AIS) approach, to support capacity strengthening among in-country stakeholders for OFSP value chain development and up-grading. Particularly, to achieve more effective and gender-equitable sweetpotato value chains, ensuring that as the commercialization of sweetpotato increases, the benefits are equitably shared among men, women and young people. Additionally, to document lessons gained from using an agricultural innovation systems approach in the promotion and dissemination of OFSP technologies and share these widely in the East and Central Africa region. This approach was borne of fact that sweetpotato production and marketing has commonly been an arena for women. However, with various new initiatives, sweetpotato has suddenly become more lucrative, with increased participation of men especially in the wholesale and processing functions. Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) is a key to application of AIS as it provides a systematic approach to the diagnosis and up-grading of value chains. PMCA also offers space for interaction among different value chain actors, joint planning and delivery of new products, services or institutions arising out of commercial, technological or institutional innovations. Through joint market assessments and market development, trust is built amongst value chain actors who work together in common interest thematic groups to leverage a specific market opportunity. In conclusion, lessons learnt are that women and men face different kinds of constraints in taking advantage of business opportunities, which therefore require differentiated strategies to address them effectively. Also learnt that there should be a careful choice and application of tools, as additional time and skills are needed to ensure that mixed or single sex focus groups are used appropriately, and that the data and information gained can be interpreted and translated into actionable strategies.


McEwan, M. and Mayanja, S. 2013. Scaling up technologies in orange-fleshed sweetpotato using the Agricultural Innovation System. International Potato Center (CIP).