The boundary where the river bank meets the start of the village is marked by a tall pole. With the river completely dry at the moment the pole is bare and sticks out from the dry sand and without it you would barely know that you were walking inside the channels of a river. But just a few weeks of rain and a change in climate and this land could be all but submerged and the river channels filled with water. With the rain, the channels would fill taking with it the fertile land which is currently being used for farming – gone for another season until the dry, hot months return and this land can once again be used to grow food and harvest nutrition for those that call it home.
In Bangladesh, the International Potato Center is currently implementing the SUSTAIN project which is a 5-year partnership (2013-2018), coordinated by CIP and financed by the UK Department for International Development, to scale up the nutrition benefits of bio-fortified orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) in Bangladesh, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Rwanda and the spillover countries of Zambia and Tanzania. The goal is to reach 1.2 million households with under-5 year old children. SUSTAIN supports integrated interventions in agriculture, nutrition, utilization, and marketing to strengthen production and consumption of OFSP. SUSTAIN emphasizes rigorous measurement and evaluation in order to assess the scalability of these interventions and contribute to global evidence on achieving large scale nutrition outcomes through bio-fortified crops.
CIPs Bangladesh projects are building on continued progress in sub-Saharan Africa where the International Potato Center (CIP) has been working to bring the nutritional benefits of OFSP to nearly 2 million households in countries across sub-Saharan Africa affected by vitamin A deficiency. Over many years of working on OFSP, CIP has demonstrated that rigorous research in agriculture and health sciences can be combined to create solutions for global nutrition challenges and that these can be scaled up to reach millions of vulnerable families.