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Presentation 20: Consumer participation in Ghana’s sweetpotato breeding program: The consumer preference approach

Breeders in Ghana are faced with the challenge of getting consumers to adopt their varieties and even more so the orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP). This is as a result of idea that sweetpotato are generally too sweet. It is therefore important to ascertain whether new varieties meet consumers’ preference. Hence the objective of this research to assist breeders in varietal selection through consumer preference surveys. Gender, age (6-17 years for children, and 18-60 years for adults) and local taste preferences can influence the acceptance of a particular variety, hence are very important to consider during sweetpotato breeding. Using a pictorial rating (“smiley” face scale) scheme to aid young children and illiterate farmers and representation of men, women and children, consumer sensory analysis on sweetpotato advance trials at five different ecological locations (Komenda, Ohawu, Pokuase, Kpeve and Tono) was conducted at the time of harvest for the 2013 season. Nine elite genotypes (NKO3/A, BUN5, TIS9265/10, Jitihada, CIP 442162, CIP 440390, 91/282-1/35, 199062-1/2, AP3A) at the advance stage (AYT-Advance yield trial) were tested against four released varieties (Santom Pona, Ogyefo, Sauti, Otoo and Blue Blue) from the Ghana Crop Research Institute to serve as checks. Attributes evaluated were colour, taste, flavour, texture and overall acceptability. All the elite genotypes recorded higher consumer acceptability (≥3) in all the attributes across all locations with the exception of TIS9265/10 and AP3A. Significant differences were observed between adults and children preference while differences observed between women and men were not significant in most of the attributes apart from colour (p=0.0036). While men rated texture (average   likeness=3.9513) above all attributes, women preferred appearance (average colour likeness= 4.0374) more. Children consistently ranked sweetpotato higher in all attributes than adults which is also an indication that, children are less selective than adults. Pokuase location recorded highest colour and flavour preference while Kpeve ranked taste and texture highest. It can be concluded that, consumers generally accepted the breeders’ varieties regardless of whether it was OFSP or its sweetness level. Though consumers mostly preferred the 2013 AYT genotypes, consumer preferences are not static and can change from one season to the next. It is therefore necessary to assess these changes every season in order to address consumer needs at all times.


Dery, E.K., Asare, K.B., Adofo, K., Obeng-Bio, E., Owusu-Mensah, E., Oduro, I., Abidin, P.E. and Carey, E.E. 2016. Consumer Participation in Ghana Sweetpotato Breeding Program: The Consumer Preference Approach. IPresentation made at the 2016 Marketing, Processing and Utilization Cop Meeting in Tanzania.