The 7th Annual Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative (SPHI took place from 7-8 October 2016 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme of this year’s meeting was ‘Celebrating the 2016 World Food Prize’. This theme honored four scientists – Dr. Howarth Bouis of HarvestPlus, and Drs. Jan Low, Maria Andrade and Robert Mwanga of the International Potato Center (CIP), who were awarded the Prize for their combined efforts in using biofortification of crops to improve the nutrition and health of over ten million people. It also preceded the Triennial African Potato Association conference, and the CIP@45 celebrations, which were held in the same city.
The meeting was officially opened by Dr. Fentahun Mengistu, the Director General of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR). Dr. Mengistu emphasized his government’s commitment to using modern tools and technologies to drive and transform the agricultural system to benefit the livelihood of the people of Ethiopia. Dr. Nelson Ojijo made the opening remarks on behalf of Director General of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo. Also in attendance was Dr. Barbara Wells, the Director General of CIP.
The SPHI is a multi-partner, multi-donor initiative that seeks to reduce child malnutrition and improve smallholder incomes in 10 million African families by 2020 through the effective production and expanded use of sweetpotato. Over the years, the SPHI has continued to grow, and this is reflected in the composition of the 94 participants, who came from 17 sub-Saharan African countries, the United Kingdom, USA and Germany. The chart below shows the type of organizations represented at the meeting.
Participants presented and discussed progress in sweetpotato science and delivery along the entire sweetpotato value chain and showcased innovations and impact case studies in agriculture, nutrition and health innovations. Other highlights of the meeting were the announcement of winners of the SPHI 2016 photo contest. Following the main meeting, the SPHI Steering Committee meeting was held on 9th October 2016.