A surprise visitor and others go gaga for Gaba-gaba

The foundation delegation and Bono were joined by other members of the board of the ONE campaign, including Bobby Shriver, a congressman from California. Cofounded by Bono and Shriver, ONE is a nonpartisan advocacy and grassroots campaign organization with more than two million members which works closely with policy makers and activists and is committed to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease in Africa. When it comes to orange-fleshed sweetpotato it would appear that the rock star knows what he’s talking about – he and fellow band members reported eating it to get in shape for their last tour. While visiting an on-farm trial, Bono became excited when he discovered an orange-fleshed sweetpotato variety named Gaba-gaba. Apparently, the words Gaba-gaba are part of a famous rock song in the USA that contains the line: Gabba Gabba Hey! Needless to say, that phrase became the chant of the day.

In his introductory statement, the Vice Minister of Agriculture spoke strongly in favor of sweetpotato, noting it was the third most important food crop in the country, and called for support for massive dissemination of the new varieties due to be released in 2010 by CIP scientist Maria Andrade and her counterpart from the national partner institution IIAM. The group then went on to visit a vine multiplier, an on-farm trial, and the Association of 25th September – a group that produces sweetpotato processed products – where they were treated to donuts, bread, and juice. Suitably fuelled up, there was then some impromptu dancing. But it wasn’t all fun and games. During Mr. Raikes’ visit to Maputo, there were additional discussions held on breeding strategies and such topics as helping farmers adapt to climate change with drought-tolerant varieties and small-scale irrigation, improving access to resources for women, increasing access to more nutritious varieties, and garnering greater buy-in and support from African policy makers for agricultural research.