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Integrating Orange in Zambia: Combating Vitamin A Deficiency and Food Insecurity through the Effective Use of Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) in Eastern and Central Provinces

Project Complete

In spite of Zambia having a vitamin A capsule supplementation program and fortified sugar (currently reaching 63% of children 6–9 months of age) the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency (VAD) among children under five years of age is 54%.  Part of the challenge is that fortified foods are often beyond the purchasing power of many households, especially in rural areas.

The four year project aimed to improve vitamin A and energy intake for at least 15,000 rural households growing and consuming OFSP, of which 75% should be women with children under 5 years of age.

Since 2011, the project focused on five districts in Eastern Province (Chipata, Katete, Lundazi, Nyimba, Petauke) and one district in Central Province, Kapiri-Mposhi, known for sweetpotato production that feeds into the Lusaka (the capital of Zambia) market.  The project was hosted by ZARI’s Msekera research station in Chipata, Zambia.

Felistus Patience Chipungu (CIP),

Key Project Information

Supported under USAID’s Feed the Future (FTF) initiative, the project sought to improve overall household food security and diet diversification through effective dissemination of pro-vitamin A rich OFSP varieties and improved production, conservation, and utilization techniques linked to increased nutritional knowledge. We identified and strengthened partnerships that worked to promote OFSP adoption.  They ensured access to OFSP planting material through the establishment of an active and knowledgeable sweetpotato community of practice among rural households.  This community of practice focused on integrating and enhancing food security and dietary diversification, which ensured that women in particular benefited from OFSP-based nutrition and market interventions in the maize-dominated cropping systems.  We implemented the following components:

  • Creation of partnerships with relevant government departments, NGOS, and other private sector players to implement the project.
  • Generation of high quality planting vines and establishment of an effective delivery system to rural households for increased OFSP productivity.
  • Provision of nutritional knowledge with particular reference to VAD, OFSP, child care and dietary diversification, especially to women in the beneficiary households.
  • Development of promotional and educational messages and their dissemination to the public through Nyanja and Bemba radio programs, dance, poetry, songs, field days and banners to create and sustain market demand for OFSP vines, roots, leaves and processed products made from OFSP.
  • Building capacity of national implementing partners to design and implement a strong and cost-effective research, training and intervention activities that drive successful adoption and utilization of OFSP.
Start date
End date
Collaborating organizations • Zambian Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) • University of Zambia (UNZA) • Agribusiness in sustainable Natural African Plant Products (ASNAPP) • Arulussa FarmCommunity Markets for Conservation (COMACO) • Chipata District Multi-Sector Nutrition Committee (CDNMC) • Care International • CARITAS • Catholic Relief Services – Mawa • Conservation Farming Unit (CFU) • Covenant College • Development Aid from People to People in Zambia • Every Home for Christ (EHC) • Golden Valley Agricultural Trust (GART) • HarvestPlus • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) • Kennedy Kaunda Foundation • Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) • Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health • National Food and Nutrition Commission • Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia • Peace Corps • Rising Fountains Development Program • Rural Initiative for Children’s Hope Foundation (RICH) • Women in Agri-business in Sub Sahara Africa Alliance (WASAA)
Region Southern Africa
Countries Zambia
Type of project Development / Dissemination and Research
Financing Sources United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Members Felistus Chipungu, Martin Chiona, JOSE MARIO CARDENAS


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