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Home / Project / Scaling up Sweetpotato Through Agriculture and Nutrition (SUSTAIN) project

Scaling up Sweetpotato Through Agriculture and Nutrition (SUSTAIN) project

Project Ongoing

In many African and South Asian countries, Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is considered a major public health problem, affecting almost a quarter of the population, and one that requires appropriate nutrition interventions. VAD causes morbidity, poor cognitive development, nutritional blindness, reduced immunity, and in some cases, death in children especially under the age of five years as well as poor productivity in adults. Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP)
is a nutritious type of sweetpotato that has a huge potential of reducing VAD, especially among children under five years of age, the group most at risk of VAD. Only 125 grams of most OFSP varieties supply the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A for children under five years of age. In addition, the short maturity (3-4 months), low input requirement and ease of integration into kitchen gardens makes OFSP an excellent food-based approach to reduce the high prevalence of VAD.

SUSTAIN is a 5-year programme (2013-2018) which works to enhance nutrition and food security of women and young children in East and Southern Africa, through integrated agriculture and nutrition interventions utilizing OFSP. The programme has set out to reach at least 1.2 million farming households with children under 5 years of age with OFSP planting material and nutrition education by 2018. This will be achieved by using an integrated approach that appreciates the critical role that good nutrition plays in assuring the full physical and mental development of children. The program approach has emphasized that farmers be enabled to retain OFSP as part of their mixed farming systems and in their diets after direct programme support has phased out, by producing OFSP at least twice a year and consuming OFSP at least twice per week when it is in season. The program has also aimed to develop effective inroads into urban markets in collaboration with fresh root traders and commercial food processors. The program’s aim has been to reach at least 400,000 consumers with a commercially traded product that uses OFSP as a major ingredient. To gain a better understanding of the effectiveness and efficiency of our delivery approach, SUSTAIN is working through Michigan State University to undertake a 4-year rigorous evaluation of selected program interventions using a Randomized Control Trial in Rwanda and qualitative methodologies in all countries.

SUSTAIN is implemented in the Eastern and Southern
African regions; specifically, in Kenya, Malawi,
Mozambique, and Rwanda, and since 2016 in Bangladesh.

Simon Heck | Program Leader | International Potato Center (CIP), Uganda
Phone +256 312 266250 | Mobile +256 754 736230; +254 700 173734
Skype simon.heck

Key Project Information

The International Potato Center (CIP) managed project in Rwanda will scale up the development of an Orange Fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) seed system, link beneficiaries to market through effective partnerships and integrate agriculture-nutrition health linkages to deliver OFSP to various segments of Rwandan households. By 2018 the project will reach an estimated 50,000 direct and 250,000 indirect Rwandan beneficiaries with young children with nutrition information and counseling in selected districts. Improved nutrition through dietary diversity and the increased OFSP consumption will also be emphasized at the household and community level. The 5-year regional project is working to enhance nutrition and food security of women and young children in East and Southern Africa through integrated agriculture – nutrition interventions utilizing orange fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP). The project aims to reach 1.2 million farming households in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique

Start date September 20, 2021
End date
Lead organization International Potato Center (CIP)
Region Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Asia
Countries Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Bangladesh
Type of project Development / Dissemination and Research
Financing Sources UK Department for International Development(UKaid)
Members James Muriithi, Kirimi Sindi, PENINA MUOKI, Frederick Grant, Joyce Maru, Rose Chesoli, Julius Juma Okello, Norman Kwikiriza, Tawanda Muzhingi


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