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Sweetpotato Breeding Under the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative

Sweetpotato is playing an increasingly important role in African agriculture, combating food insecurity and undernourishment, particularly vitamin A deficiency. The Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative (SPHI) aims to reposition sweetpotato in African food economies, and improve the lives of 10 million families by 2020. SPHI works through diverse research and development partnerships and seeks to ensure that women and children benefit from its efforts. The Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA), of the SPHI, supports significant pre-breeding and capacity-building efforts from regional Sweetpotato Support Platforms (SSPs) in Uganda, Mozambique and Ghana. From these locations, CIP breeders work with national and regional partners. Pre-breeding (population improvement) efforts at each location focus on key attributes of regional importance and use recurrent selection and an accelerated sweetpotato breeding (ASPB) approach to advance populations rapidly. ASPB involves early evaluation of clones and families across environments, and is also used by partners for selecting new varieties. High dry matter and provitamin A content are a priority at each of the SSPs, with specific emphasis in southern Africa on drought tolerance, in eastern Africa on resistance to sweetpotato virus disease (SPVD), and in West Africa on non-sweet types. Near infrared spectroscopy is used at each SSP for rapid analysis of quality attributes. The relative efficiencies of controlled versus polycross methods and the use of heterosis are also being systematically assessed. Breeding efforts at SSPs are backstopped by germplasm and expertise from CIP headquarters and elsewhere. It is anticipated that outputs from each SSP may be useful to other SSPs and national programs. Capacity building and breeding efforts in each region are undertaken in close collaboration with national programs and within regional structures, such as ASARECA, and with support from various sources, including AGRA


Carey, T., Andrade. M., Mwanga, R., Low, J., Grüneberg, W. 2010. Sweetpotato Breeding under the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative. International potato center (CIP).