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Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA)

Project Ongoing

The potential of sweetpotato has remained largely untapped in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly compared to grains and cash crops, and even compared to other root crops, such as cassava. Increased investment could significantly boost yields, increase market potential, and reverse sweetpotato’s image as a poor person’s food.

The overall objective of the SASHA Project is to develop the essential capacities, products, and methods to reposition sweetpotato in food economies to alleviate poverty and undernutrition in Africa.  The specific objectives of the SASHA Project are:

  1. To establish efficient population improvement programs at sub-regional level in SSA linked with participatory varietal development at the national level to enable short and long-term production of new locally adapted varieties that significantly improve farmer incomes and deliver nutritional benefits to consumers;
  2. To develop safe weevil-resistant sweetpotato varieties for SSA using local capacities and a combination of biotechnology and breeding that significantly improves food security in Uganda and Kenya;
  3. To establish demand-led cost-effective seed systems for the dissemination of new varieties and high quality planting material, for both nutrition and market led initiatives and to understand the factors that influence the development of commercially viable seed systems linked to markets;
  4. To provide convincing evidence that novel delivery systems can cost-effectively benefit the poor, especially women and children, through (1) combating Vitamin A and other nutritional deficiencies in the use of sweetpotato in food-based approaches and (2) responding to a growing urban food market and expanding market opportunities for sweetpotato;
  5. To develop platforms at the sub-regional level to support sweetpotato research and development activities and to build a sustainable community of practice.

SASHA works in in 12 Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries: 


Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda
Ethiopia Malawi Mozambique Zambia
Ghana Nigeria Burundi Madagascar

Jan Low

SASHA Project Manager & leader of governance and CoP coordination


Wolfgang Gruneberg

Leads sweetpotato breeding at CIP headquarters in Peru & method development


Maria Andrade

Leads  Sweetpotato Support Platform in Southern Africa (Mozambique)


Robert Mwanga

Leads Sweetpotato Support Platform in Eastern and Central Africa (Uganda)


Ted Carey

Leads  Sweetpotato Support Platform in West  Africa (Ghana)


Marc Ghislain

Leads Weevil Resistance research


Margaret McEwan

Leads Seed Systems Research and Seed Systems and Crop Management CoP


Tawanda Muzhingi

Leads Food Science research


Julius Okello

Leads Monitoring, Learning & Evaluation CoP and annual SPHI Update Reporting


Jan Krueze

Leads Virology and Diagnostic Tools Research


Luka Wanjohi

Leads Knowledge and Data Management for all research components


Bernice Jane Wairimu

Program Specialist


Faith Njung’e

Communications and Knowledge Management Officer


Emily Ndoho

Finance Officer


Debbie Rees (NRI)

Coordinates Storage and Post-Harvest  Handling Research

Key Project Information

The Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) is a 5-year initiative designed to improve the food security and livelihoods of poor families in Sub-Saharan Africa by exploiting the untapped potential of sweetpotato. It will develop the essential capacities, products, and methods to reposition sweetpotato in food economies of Sub-Saharan African countries to alleviate poverty and undernutrition, particularly among poor women and children.SASHA is a project of the International Potato Center (CIP). As part of the broader, 10-year, multi-donor Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative, the SASHA project is expected to set the groundwork for improving the lives of 10 million Sub-Saharan households in 10 years.

Leader Jan W. Low
Start date August 04, 2009
End date July 31, 2019
Lead organization International Potato Center (CIP)
Region Sub-Saharan Africa
Countries Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Burundi, and Madagascar
Status Ongoing
Type of project Development / Dissemination and Research
Financing Sources Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Members Tassy Kariuki, Tawanda Muzhingi, Margaret McEwan, Jan Kreuze, Jan W. Low, Robert Mwanga, Ted Carey, Faith Njunge, Marc Ghislain, Julius Juma Okello, JOSE MARIO CARDENAS, leonidas dusengemungu, Walter Omony


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