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Annual Progress Report-2012

The Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) is a five-year project that seeks to directly improve the food security of at least 155,000 Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) families by exploiting the untapped potential of sweetpotato and to create the conditions for going to scale. This requires (1) transforming sweetpotato breeding, (2) developing innovative seed systems, (3) strengthening partners’ capacities, and (4) understanding how to link these components to market and food-based nutritional interventions while assuring gender equity. The project is slightly more than half-way through. This report reports progress made through 30 June 2012. Overall, most components of four of the five research programs (RP) are on track based on their original milestones. The exception is RP2, which seeks to develop a transgenic weevil resistant sweetpotato. Expected results in a key RP2 experiment were not obtained early in year 3. This has necessitated a re-design of RP2, in consultation and with the approval of the relevant BMGF program officers. RP2 has proposed 3 new milestones and dropped 18. Of the remaining milestones, 17 have been achieved or almost achieved, 4 are on track, and 11 are behind schedule. Of the 109 milestones for non-RP2 sub-programs whose activities have begun, 51 have been completely or almost achieved (47%), 37 (34%) are on track for their expected completion dates, 18 are behind schedule (16%), and 3 (3%) have been dropped. The majority of “behind schedule” milestones are for the breeding program. It several cases it has taken longer to multiply material for the proposed trials than expected or further validation work for another season was needed. Explanations for any delays are provided in the main text and detailed milestone table in Appendix B. Appendix A provides an updated log frame of outputs. Highlights for this period are summarized below. OBx.x refers to relevant objective numbers and MSx.x to milestone numbers.