By the end of 2017, an International Potato Center (CIP) research-for-development initiative to expand the availability of quality seed potatoes in sub-Saharan Africa had improved the lives of more than 480,000 small-scale potato farmers. CIP and partners had also reached more than 4.5 million households in Africa, Asia and Haiti with nutritious orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP). These are just two of the milestones covered in CIP’s Annual Report 2017: Harnessing Potato and Sweetpotato’s Power for Food Security, Nutrition and Climate Resilience.
Potato and sweetpotato hold enormous potential for reducing hunger, poverty and malnutrition. They can be grown in an array of environments, produce food more quickly than grain crops, and contain relatively high levels of vital vitamins and micronutrients. CIP is collaborating closely with national and international research and development partners on several continents to tap that potential, helping root and tuber farmers produce more nutritious food, access better markets, and adapt to climate change.
The 2017 Annual Report features examples of this work from around the world:
- In Kenya, a technology for preserving OFSP puree that facilitates its use in baked goods has allowed Kenya’s biggest supermarket chains to produce vitamin A-rich OFSP bread, creating new markets for smallholder farmers.
- In Peru, CIP-bred biofortified potatoes with elevated levels of iron and zinc are being grown by indigenous farmers in the Huancavelica region and are under evaluation for national release. They can play an important role in projects to reduce anemia and malnutrition.
- In Mozambique, CIP developed an accelerated breeding scheme that allows the release of a new set of sweetpotato varieties every four to five years. By 2017, 22 CIP-bred varieties had been released in Mozambique, where those vitamin A-rich, drought tolerant varieties represent one third of all sweetpotatoes grown.
- In India’s Odisha state, 6,000 sweetpotato farmers who received training and planting material under a CIP-led project saw their farm productivity increase by 17%, and their incomes by as much as 40% over the past four years.
- In Africa, CIP and partners developed a Pest Risk Atlas to inform government efforts to help farmers improve their pest management today, and help them plan for the risks crop pests will pose under future climates.