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Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative: Status of Sweetpotato in Sub-Saharan Africa: September 2019

This was the 5th year of the Status of Sweetpotato in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) annual report, which corresponds to the fifth year of the second phase of the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative (SPHI), from July 2018 through June 2019. First, the report uses FAO data through 2017 (most recent year available) to look at the trends in area under sweetpotato compared to other crops in area expansion in SSA, then dives into area and production under sweetpotato in the 17 target countries under the SPHI by sub-region. Second, the report assesses progress made in dissemination improved sweetpotato varieties to users since the launching of the SPHI in 2009. The goal of the SPHI was to reach 10 million African households with improved varieties of sweetpotato by 2020 in 17 target countries. To accomplish this, breeding in Africa for Africa is essential to have adapted varieties that consumers like to eat. Thus, the report captures progress in varietal release by country. Progress in other indicators are touched upon before summarizing the findings of the annual update on the status of decentralized vine multipliers in 10 countries where data were collected using a phone interview. Maps showing the location of the multipliers by gender are provided.
The trend data in area under major field crops from 1995 through 2017 clearly show that the rate of expansion under potato and sweetpotato is faster than for all other field crops. Since 2015, sweetpotato has exceed potato in area expansion. Since 2009, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Rwanda have continued to expand in sweetpotato area in East and Central Africa; there is a concerning decline in area and production in 2010 in Uganda. In West Africa, area and production in sweetpotato continue to expand in Nigeria since 2009. The levels dwarf what is happening in other West African countries, but poor statistics limits our ability to track progress in this sub-region. In Southern Africa since 2009, Malawi and Angola have demonstrated the strongest growth in area under sweetpotato; in terms of production, Malawi clearly dominates, which variable production statistics for other countries due to the unpredictable occurrence of drought. A major change this year, is that the FAO corrected its statistic database for Malawi, which in previous years incorrectly recorded sweetpotato under potato. In 2017, the top four sweetpotato producing countries in the FAOSTAT database from highest to lowest were Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Since 2009, 150 improved sweetpotato varieties have been released by 16 SSA countries, of which 100 or two-thirds, are orange-fleshed. During the past year, 16 varieties were released by four countries (Kenya, Burundi, Ghana and Burkina Faso).
The total number of beneficiaries reached during this reporting period was 427,103 households (295,205 direct and 131,898 indirect beneficiary households) which is about 39% less than the beneficiaries reached during the previous reporting period. This brings the total number of beneficiary households reached to 6,224,647, 62% of the target. In terms of individuals reach, we estimate 29,595,005 persons, based on average rural household size for a given country.
741 of the 1,030 decentralized vine multipliers recorded in previous years were reached by phone for an update survey in 11 SSA countries. Among these, 76.2% were actively producing vines while 23.8% reported to have stopped vine production citing lack of market as the major contributor and drought as the second most constraint towards continued vine production. Vine multiplication in the 11 SPHI countries is predominantly done by men who constitute 70.3% of those contacted compared to 29.7% women.

The report ends with a discussion for the way forward. Resource mobilization needs to intensify so that the dissemination effort stays on track. Several impact studies are underway which are assessing varietal performance and uptake in key countries like Malawi and Uganda. Clearly, there is a need to continue monitoring progress in sweetpotato varietal dissemination and uptake. A committee is currently assessing continuing with the SPHI construct through 2023 so that the 10 million household goal is attained. It is an opportunity to reflect on how the SPHI can be strengthened to ensure continued progress and to improve the functioning of the overall partnership.

Authors: Okello, Julius (CIP-SSA), , Phabian Makokha, Jan W. Low, Norman Kwikiriza

Subjects: Monitoring Progress of the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative

Pages: 29

Publisher: International Potato Center

Publication Date: September 30, 2019

Rights: Open Access

Keywords: Decentralized Vine Multipliers, Monitoring, SPHI, sub-Saharan Africa, varietal release


Okello, J., Wanjohi, L., Makohka, P., Low, J.W., Kwikiriza, N., 2019. Status of Sweetpotato in Sub-Saharan Africa: September 2019. Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative. International Potato Center, Nairobi, Kenya, p. 29 p.