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Promotion of Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato to Enhance Dietary Vitamin A Intake: Lessons and Strategies in Eastern and Southern Africa

Vitamin A deficiency is a serious component of a serious and growing problem of malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly among children. The International Potato Centre (CIP) is working together with partner organizations in agriculture, nutrition, and health to fight vitamin A deficiency through the promotion of orange- fleshed sweetpotato varieties as a dietary source of ß-carotene, from which the body synthesizes the vitamin. This approach complements supplementation and fortification, which is out of reach to many people, particularly in rural areas where a majority are unable to afford the costs involved. The approach also has potential for sustainability especially if value addition and product development concerns are addressed. This will facilitate varsility and create new markets for sweetpotato. Orange-fleshed varieties are acceptable to African consumers, especially children. Varieties with a drier, starchier texture have now been selected that are accepted by local consumers in vitamin A deficient areas. The challenge therefore is to stimulate further demand through value addition. The VITAA partnership – Vitamin A for Africa — aims to build partnerships between farmers, nutritionists, researchers, medical doctors, NGO’s, local based communities, extensions and entrepreneurs. The common goal is to promote orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes and other food-based approaches to solving vitamin A deficiency and wider problems of malnutrition.

Authors: Regina Kapinga, Peter Ewell, Wanda Collins, Dapeng Zhang , Berga Lemaga, Regina Kapinga, Peter Ewell, Wanda Collins, Dapeng Zhang , Berga Lemaga

Pages: 22

Publication Date: 2010

Keywords: Beta-carotene, Demand creation, Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, Vitamin A deficiency


Kapinga, R., Ewell, P.T., Hagenimana, V., Collins, W., Zhang, D. and Lemaga, B., (2010) Promotion of orange-fleshed sweetpotato to enhance dietary Vitamin A intake: Lessons and Strategies in Eastern and Southern Africa.