Triple advantage

Climate-smart approach boosts farmer incomes by 14%

Like other farmers in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), Worke Kuchuta stopped growing sweetpotato years ago after a prolonged drought made it impossible to find planting material in time for seasonal rains.

It’s a common challenge in Africa, one that prevents many families from growing pro-vitamin A, orange-fleshed sweetpotato. But thanks to a simple innovation that enables her to produce quality planting material in a timely manner, Kuchuta and her family are now enjoying sweetpotato’s nutritional benefits again.

Dealing with drought

Shortages of sweetpotato vines at the start of the rainy season force many farmers to plant late, or use low quality planting material, which result in late harvests and low yields. As climate change alters rainfall patterns, this is becoming increasingly problematic.

“My six children enjoy orange-fleshed sweetpotato very much,” said Kuchuta, who explained that sweetpotato leaves and vines also serve as fodder for their cows in the dry season.

Triple advantage

Climate-smart approach boosts farmer incomes by 14%

Like other farmers in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), Worke Kuchuta stopped growing sweetpotato years ago after a prolonged drought made it impossible to find planting material in time for seasonal rains.

It’s a common challenge in Africa, one that prevents many families from growing pro-vitamin A, orange-fleshed sweetpotato. But thanks to a simple innovation that enables her to produce quality planting material in a timely manner, Kuchuta and her family are now enjoying sweetpotato’s nutritional benefits again.

Dealing with drought

Shortages of sweetpotato vines at the start of the rainy season force many farmers to plant late, or use low quality planting material, which result in late harvests and low yields. As climate change alters rainfall patterns, this is becoming increasingly problematic.

To address this challenge, the International Potato Center (CIP) and partners have promoted a system to store sweetpotatoes in sand during the dry months, plant them in seedbeds six weeks before the rainy season begins, and water them so that they sprout vines for planting once the rains resume. Dubbed Triple S (for storage in sand and sprouting) this appropriate technology allows farmers to start harvesting early in the year – when food is scarce and market prices are high – and increases the number of months families have sweetpotatoes to eat. Just 100 sweetpotatoes will sprout enough vines to plant in a quarter hectare, which can produce enough nutritious food to meet a family’s annual vitamin A needs.

“My six children enjoy orange-fleshed sweetpotato very much,” said Kuchuta, who explained that sweetpotato leaves and vines also serve as fodder for their cows in the dry season. In 2019, Kuchuta and her husband, Bezabih Hamamo, not only grew enough orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes to feed the family, they also sold a small surplus at a local market for USD 255, and sold vine cuttings to other farmers for additional income.

They are hardly an exception. One study found that farmers who use Triple-S earn 14% more than those who use traditional methods, which means it alleviates the financial burden of households that struggle to meet basic needs.

Taking an innovation to scale

Kuchuta and Hamamo are among the thousands of farmers in the SNNPR who are now producing their own planting material and growing orange-fleshed sweetpotato again. They are also showing other farmers how to implement Triple S, as they are among the hundreds of ‘trainers’ – farmers and government extension agents – who learned to teach their neighbors Triple S and good farming practices as a result of a gender-responsive initiative to take the innovation to scale. Supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, the initiative used a combination of videos, printed materials, and demonstrations to teach nearly 14,000 Ethiopian farmers to use Triple S in 2018-19. In the process, it developed a methodology that can be used to take Triple S to scale elsewhere in the future.

The Triple-S scaling initiative also benefited farmers in northern Ghana, where CIP partnered with NGOs and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to train approximately 37,000 farmers – 60 percent of them women – and show demonstration videos to another 43,000. By the end of 2019, instructors at five Ghanaian agricultural colleges had received training on Triple S, and approximately 500 trainers in Ethiopia and Ghana were ready to teach people the approach for years to come.

Triple-S – a fairly simple idea – demonstrates the power of an innovation and an effective approach for taking it to scale. With its eye squarely focused on the needs of poor farming families, CIP will continue to develop and disseminate such technologies and practices to improve nutrition, food systems and lives.

Funders:  African Development Bank; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; European Union; Helen Keller International; United Kingdom Natural Resources Institute, United States Agency for International Development. 

Partners: CIRAD – Agricultural Research for Development; Adongo Agricultural College, Ghana; Digital Green, Ethiopia; Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture; Innovations for Sustainable Rural Development, Ghana; Integrated Water and Agricultural Development, Ghana; Mennonite Economic Development Association; People in Need; Savanna Agricultural Research Institute, Ghana; South Agriculture Research Institute, Ethiopia; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resource Development; Partnership for Rural Development Action, Ghana; Tumu Deanery Rural Integrated Development Programmer, Ghana; Sodo ATVET College, Ethiopia.

Associated CGIAR Research Program:  Roots, Tubers and Bananas.

ABOUT

CIP is a CGIAR research center with a focus on potato, sweetpotato and Andean roots and tubers. It delivers innovative science-based solutions to enhance access to affordable nutritious food, foster inclusive sustainable business and employment growth, and drive the climate resilience of root and tuber agri-food systems. Headquartered in Lima, Peru, CIP has a research presence in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. www.cipotato.org

CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Its science is carried out by 15 research centers in close collaboration with hundreds of partners across the globe. www.cgiar.org

CIP ACHIEVEMENTS

CREDITS

Discovery to Impact
Science-based solutions for global challenges

International Potato Center | Annual Report 2019
© 2020, International Potato Center
ISSN 0256-6311
DOI: 10.4160/02566311/2018
Hecho el Depósito Legal en la Biblioteca Nacional del Perú  N° 2005-9640 

Readers are encouraged to quote or reproduce material from this report. As copyright holder, CIP requests acknowledgement and a copy of the publication where the citation or material appears. Please send this to the Communications Department at the address below. 

International Potato Center
Av. La Molina 1895, La Molina, Peru
Apartado 1558, Lima 12, Peru
cip@cgiar.org
www.cipotato.org 

Direction
James Stapleton 

Managing editor
Christopher Butler 

Writing 
David Dudenhoefer (consultant) 

Production coordinator
Cecilia Lafosse 

Multimedia productions
Sara Fajardo
Hugh Rutherford
Isabel Corthier 

Web development
Moises Rosario
Andrea Prado 

Design and infographics
José Enrique Torres 

Photo captions and credits 

Sliders:
Sweetpotato vine distribution in Mozambique (CIP/I. Corthier).
Jan Kreuze in the lab. (Credit CIP/J. Torres).
Genetic markers facilitate breeding resilient potatoes with characteristics local people want. (Credit CIP/H. Rutherford).

Sub-menus:

Discovery:
Jan Kreuze in the lab. (Credit CIP/J. Torres)

Innovation:
Ms Tirhas Woldu and her daughters, of Tigray, Ethiopia, enjoy orange-fleshed sweetpotato. (Credit CIP/A.Frezer)

Impact:
A combination of sweetpotato planting material, agronomic training and nutrition education has helped millions of rural families improve their food and nutrition security. (Credit CIP/I. Corthier)

Next-generation breeding:
Research assistant Monica Santayana works on a project to crossbreed potato and its wild relatives (Crop Trust/M. Major).

Stopping sweetpotato pathogens:
Scientist Barack Wanjawa tests the LAMP assay for sweetpotato viruses in Kenya (KALRO/A. Mulwa).

Triple advantage:
By storing sweetpotatoes in dry sand and using them to produce planting material, farmers are able to plant and harvest the nutritious crop earlier (CIP/M. Cherinet).

Potatoes for prosperity:
Farmer Doris Kagendo Gikunda, of Meru county, with the high-yielding CIP potato variety Unica (CIP/V. Atakos).

Sweet resilience:
Thousands of farmers received sweetpotato planting material to replace crops destroyed by Cyclone Idai (CIP/I. Corthier).

Asian appetites:
Nutrition education in Bangladesh (CIP/S.Quinn)

CIP at a glance:
Credit CIP/H. Rutherford

CIP in CGIAR:
Credit CIP/I. Corthier

Board of Trustees:
Credit CIP/J.Torres

July 2020 

CREDITS

Discovery to Impact
Science-based solutions for global challenges

International Potato Center | Annual Report 2019
© 2020, International Potato Center
ISSN 0256-6311
DOI: 10.4160/02566311/2018
Hecho el Depósito Legal en la Biblioteca Nacional del Perú  N° 2005-9640 

Readers are encouraged to quote or reproduce material from this report. As copyright holder, CIP requests acknowledgement and a copy of the publication where the citation or material appears. Please send this to the Communications Department at the address below. 

International Potato Center
Av. La Molina 1895, La Molina, Peru
Apartado 1558, Lima 12, Peru
cip@cgiar.org
www.cipotato.org 

Direction
James Stapleton 

Managing editor
Christopher Butler 

Writing 
David Dudenhoefer (consultant) 

Production coordinator
Cecilia Lafosse 

Multimedia productions
Sara Fajardo
Hugh Rutherford
Isabel Corthier 

Web development
Moises Rosario
Andrea Prado 

Design and infographics
José Enrique Torres 

Photo captions and credits 

Sliders:
Sweetpotato vine distribution in Mozambique (CIP/I. Corthier).
Jan Kreuze in the lab. (Credit CIP/J. Torres).
Genetic markers facilitate breeding resilient potatoes with characteristics local people want. (Credit CIP/H. Rutherford).

Sub-menus:

Discovery:
Jan Kreuze in the lab. (Credit CIP/J. Torres).

Innovation:
Ms Tirhas Woldu and her daughters, of Tigray, Ethiopia, enjoy orange-fleshed sweetpotato. (Credit CIP/A.Frezer).

Impact:
A combination of sweetpotato planting material, agronomic training and nutrition education has helped millions of rural families improve their food and nutrition security. (Credit CIP/I. Corthier).

Next-generation breeding:
Research assistant Monica Santayana works on a project to crossbreed potato and its wild relatives (Crop Trust/M. Major).

Stopping sweetpotato pathogens:
Scientist Barack Wanjawa tests the LAMP assay for sweetpotato viruses in Kenya (KALRO/A. Mulwa).

Triple advantage:
By storing sweetpotatoes in dry sand and using them to produce planting material, farmers are able to plant and harvest the nutritious crop earlier (CIP/M. Cherinet).

Potatoes for prosperity:
Farmer Doris Kagendo Gikunda, of Meru county, with the high-yielding CIP potato variety Unica (CIP/V. Atakos).

Sweet resilience:
Thousands of farmers received sweetpotato planting material to replace crops destroyed by Cyclone Idai (CIP/I. Corthier).

Asian appetites:
Nutrition education in Bangladesh (CIP/S.Quinn).

CIP at a glance:
Credit CIP/H. Rutherford

CIP in CGIAR:
Credit CIP/I. Corthier

Communication data 2019:
Credit CIP/S. Quinn

Board of Trustees:
Credit CIP/J.Torres

July 2020 

ABOUT  | CIP ACHIEVEMENTS | CREDITS

ABOUT  | CIP ACHIEVEMENTS | CREDITS

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