My name is Marie Claire Mukakimenyi. I am 57 years old and I have been a farmer here in Rwanda all my life. I am a widow with 5 children to care for – 3 girls and 2 boys.
I was one of the first people here to receive orange-fleshed sweetpotato vines from the International Potato Center through the Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa project here in Rwanda. I was given orange-fleshed sweet potato vines for planting and I also received training on how to farm and multiply the vines.
When I received the orange-fleshed sweet potato vines, I decided that I would plant them on my farm. The agronomist who visited my farm taught me all about orange-fleshed sweet potato – how to improve my farming practices, how to plant and take care of the sweet potato. They also told me all about the nutritional benefits of eating orange-fleshed sweet potato.
I realized very quickly that I could increase my income with orange-fleshed sweetpotato. I also saw that other farmers in the community were interested in finding out about orange-fleshed sweet potato and were willing to pay a little extra for the crop. Once I realized this, I learnt everything I could.
Scaling up Sweetpotato through Agriculture and Nutrition (SUSTAIN) is a five-year partnership (2013-2018) coordinated by the International Potato Center (CIP) and financed by the UK Department for International Development to spread the nutrition benefits of biofortified OFSP to more farmers.
The program aims to reach 1.2 million households with children under 5 years across four countries: Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Rwanda through mutually-reinforcing incentives to increase adoption of OFSP, consumption of Vitamin-A-rich foods, and diversification of OFSP utilization.