This report is the output of a study undertaken as part of the Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) Project, which aims to improve “food security and livelihoods of 150,000 poor households in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by exploiting the untapped potential of sweetpotato”.
The study seeks to explore how Nigeria, which ranks third in global output of the crop, can exploit the benefits of sweetpotato in both its food and farming systems. Sweetpotato is not only a good source of carbohydrates, fibre and many micronutrients but also the orange-fleshed varieties are especially rich in beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A. Hence, increased consumption of the orange-fleshed sweetpotato can significantly reduce Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and associated conditions such as blindness and premature death in children and pregnant women. Cultivation of this versatile crop requires fewer inputs and less labour than other staple crops but, in contrast with other low-input starchy staples such as cassava, it is a relatively higher value crop with a rather short gestation period and, therefore, can potentially offer poor households an effective means to optimise farm-based earnings.
The study was specifically intended to generate evidence on the desirability and feasibility of investing in development of sweetpotato value chains for fresh root marketing and processed products in the major producing areas and markets.