An online sweetpotato catalog for sub-Saharan Africa has been awarded this year’s prize in the Excellence and Innovation in Sweetpotato: Communication for Change competition.
The digital catalog presents a collection of the best performing sweetpotato varieties or “best bets” in Africa and contains standardized information about 80 varieties grown in 15 sub-Saharan African countries. The entire catalog – and information on the individual varieties – can be downloaded for printing.
Within each profile, users can access information to learn where and how to obtain disease-free, pre-basic cuttings, or tissue culture plantlets of these varieties.
The first edition of this sweetpotato catalog was published in 2010, which has been regularly updated as newer varieties have been developed and released to the public. The online catalog, launched in May 2019, represents the latest and strongest effort yet to disseminate this valuable information to researchers, extension workers and smallholder around the world. In the first six months, the catalog had nearly 4,000 visitors from 63 different countries.
The selection committee was impressed with the catalog’s simple functionality and attractive appearance with impressive design, high quality photos, and easy-to-navigate layout.
Speaking on behalf of the project team, Luka Wanjohi, a senior regional KM associate in Nairobi, called the project a “labor of love” that required incredible amounts of trial and error to manage the field trials and collect and organize the information. He says the team is encouraged by the popularity of the catalog in its first year, but stresses the important to continue building its content so that the webpage can become a “one-stop shop” for learning about sweetpotato varieties for growers and researchers everywhere.
Wanjohi offered special thanks to Hugo Campos, CIP’s Director Research, and World Food Prize laureate, Jan Low, for their guidance in developing the website.