Adding value through crop management innovations


Poor man’s rich food – sustainable sweetpotato production and utilization in Orissa, India

Sustainable production in India

Sweetpotato production has undergone a fundamental transformation in recent years in Orissa, India, as the crop draws increasing attention from farming sectors to commercial growers. However, despite having the highest recorded area of sweetpotato production in the country, the state, which is one of India’s poorest and suffers high rates of malnutrition, still has low productivity rates compared to the national average.

CIP’s project is improving sustainable sweetpotato production from planting to harvesting to post harvest utilization, increasing opportunities for farmers, generating income, and improving nutrition.

Lack of efficient seed systems for multiplication, improper management of nurseries, lack of techniques for easy and rapid multiplication, and lack of availability of improved varieties are just some of the challenges that CIP and its partners are addressing.

A key research area is continued breeding for enhanced yields. Encouraging good agricultural practices such as intercropping and mixed cropping of sweetpotato with other crops also results in increasing yields.

Research scientists and extension agencies work together to improve productivity through crop improvement and better post-harvest ultilization. Outreach activities offer access to high quality planting material, whilst workshops and training focus on crop management techniques, including integrated pest management and the importance of different varieties.

Farmers participatory planting in western Orissa

The introduction of nutrient-rich orange-fleshed sweetpotato varieties forms part of CIP’s food-based strategy for tackling vitamin A deficiency. Alongside this initiative active efforts are underway in Orissa to incorporate the varieties into indigenous sweetpotato recipes

A winning combination – Women plus science plus sweetpotato

Women are the primary health and nutrition decision makers for their families and communities.
CIP works with the Indian Department of Agricultural Research and Education’s Directorate of Research on Women in Agriculture providing hands on workshops where food scientists,local women and consumer groups develop and taste test new nutritious recipes

New sweetpotato products

  • Sweetpotato jam
  • Gulab jamun, a popular, local dessert
  • Sweetpotato is ideal for making pickles

Products developed by the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI), Thiruvananthapuram and its regional center in Bhubaneswa

More information

  • Sustainable sweetpotato production and utilization in Orissa, India.
  • Proceedings of a sweetpotato workshop and training held in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India. March 2010 – PDF