Africa’s food systems and industry are changing rapidly to meet the demands of a growing and dynamic population. Sweetpotato is a big part of this story. Grown by over 50 million farmers, it is one of Africa’s fastest expanding crops. Over the past 10 years, the International Potato Center (CIP), in collaboration with national research institutes and with support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other donors, has developed and promoted nutritious, biofortified OFSP varieties in Africa. In Malawi alone, over 100,000 farmers grow six of these vitamin-A rich varieties.
On 26th, April 2018, CIP with support from USAID, hosted an Orange-Fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) Industry Forum in Mount Sochi Hotel, Blantyre, Malawi. The event had over 30 participants from eight African countries and the United States.
The objectives of the forum were;
- Share experiences of using OFSP in industrial processing
- Present initial study findings of the emerging OFSP processing sector in the region prepared by Dalberg Associates (Carlijn Nouwen, Carla Legros, Angelique Deng, and Mame Coumba Mbodji)
- Provide a forum for networking and business-to-business discussion
The opening remarks were made by Mr. Clement Phangaphanga, Deputy Director for Industry in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. In his remarks, he highlighted the growth of the OFSP and the need to deepen the understanding of OFSP processing and value addition.
The forum brought together early adopters in the food industry, the service sector industry, and technical experts to share their experiences with OFSP, ask questions about new opportunities, and network across countries and sectors. The forum presented an opportunity for discussions around industrial use of OFSP and the key constraints where donor and public support is needed to take OFSP processing in Africa to scale. The event featured research and industry presentations from Dalberg Associates, a world café session where experts shared findings and experiences from the OFSP value and networking.
At end of the forum, Dr. Jan Low led a session on the key questions raised and recommendations from the participants and experts.