On August 31, International Potato Center, through the Rwanda Orange-fleshed sweetpotato project funded by the USAID, carried out a one-week market linkage outreach in Musanze, where Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) farmers were linked to potential buyers. Over 1,500 Kg of rich Vitamin A roots were sold at a selling point where Ndayisaba Jeanette retailed the commodity.
At this shopping stand, many people got to know about the importance of growing and including OFSP among their foods for every meal, as Ndayisaba would not only sell the roots, but also distributed thousands of flyers containing nutrition messages to buyers and visitors to her stand in the crowded parking lot of Musanze food market.
Restaurants in Musanze were also provided with OFSP roots which were cooked for client’s tasting. Clients were sensitized on the health benefits of cooking and eating these sweetpotatoes.
The campaign attracted many people among which were retail sellers who got a boost in selling OFSP. Julian Uwamahoro, another OFSP retailer in Musanze market declared that the campaign was of much help for someone like her since it boosted her business. She added that in previous years, she did not know that this kind of sweetpotato existed. However, after she got to know about it last year, she liked them and even started selling them.
“Although I had information about this type of sweetpotato, I did not have the interest in selling them. Many other people also did not know about them, and hardly would you find someone in the market selling them. Local people did not understand the difference between these and other other roots they used to eat, and therefore, so much clarity came to pass in August when CIP brought to Musanze a market linkage outreach campaign.
“Many people liked the commodity and whoever bought them came back asking for more, especially restaurants, even those who bought for home consumption.” Ndayisaba explained.
Uwamahoro said that she is enjoying the returns and joy in selling orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes although the demand has become so overwhelming that the roots are not enough in the market. She is collaborating with specific farmers who supply her with the roots whenever she needs them. Other retail sellers have come on board since they saw her selling quite a lot within a short period. Today, there are at least three retailers who sell orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes in Musanze food market.
“Before the market linkage campaign was held, I would sell a sack of this variety within three days, but after the campaign, I can now sell off one or two sacks of these sweetpotatoes in just a day,” she added.
Most people have developed the love of growing OFSP. Ndayisaba said that in a day, about three people approach her asking where they can get vines. She said that this is all because of the last market outreach linkage campaign.
In her words, she wishes that there could be more market linkage outreaches carried out to remind people of this crop. Ndayisaba hopes to see everyone in the market sell orange fleshed sweetpotatoes hence eliminating the other types of sweetpotatoes.
The retailers commended the campaign for attracting many people to understand the goodness of these extraordinary roots, not only for eating but also for commercial purposes. They said that because sweetpotato roots lose weight as days go by, the fact that they can buy a sack and sell it off in one day helps them to have their returns on a sack as calculated as quick as possible not facing any loses.
Due to their nutrition background even in the market, their prices have been raised hence giving good returns to the retailers. Ndayisaba said that ever since she got to know this vitamin A-rich orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes, she has never bought any other type of Sweetpotatoes for her family to eat. She said that they are tasty and never cause heart-burn like some other sweetpotatoes types.
Ndayisaba concludes by thanking the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Potato Center (CIP) for having brought her a golden business opportunity to find and sell these OFSP roots. She also emphasized their nutrition take into her household as a mother of two under five years children who now enjoy the benefits of the project.