Between 29 September and 1 October 2015, over 100 people will convene in Kigali, Rwanda for the 6th Annual Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative meeting. The meeting will be opened officially at 11.00 am on 29th September by the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr. Geraldine Mukeshimana at the Hotel Villa Portofino.
The theme of this year’s meeting is ‘Together, 10 million by 2020’. This refers to the overall goal of the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative which is to reduce malnutrition and increase incomes among at least 10 million sub-Saharan African households through improved varieties of sweetpotato and their diversified use by 2020.
Micronutrient deficiency is a serious public health problem in many developing countries, but unlike wasting, it is often difficult to recognize and thus referred to as Hidden Hunger. Orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) has the potential to provide a rich dietary source of vitamin A that can significantly reduce vitamin A deficiency among vulnerable populations (particularly young children and lactating mothers) at the community level in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Scientists and experts, government representatives, academics and donors from the agriculture, nutrition and development communities from 14 sub-Saharan countries will present and discuss progress in sweetpotato science and delivery along the entire sweetpotato value chain and showcase innovations and impact case studies in agriculture, nutrition and health innovations and outline the state of sweetpotato investment in sub-Saharan Africa.
During the meeting, the new-look Sweetpotato Knowledge Portal will be re-launched. The portal is a user-driven online platform that provides an arena where sweetpotato actors meet virtually and is a single access point for discovery, acquisition and sharing of information about sweetpotato research and project activities in sub-Saharan Africa.
On 1 October 2015, the I Love Sweetpotato – Nkunda ibijumba Exhibition will be held at Hotel Villa Portofino in Kigali. Highlights of the event, which will be open to the public from 11 am to 4 pm includes a ‘Best Booth’ competition, delicious sweetpotato products for tasting and a display and demonstration of innovative sweetpotato products and ideas on display. The guests of honor at the exhibition will be the Director General of Rwanda Agricultural Board, Dr. Louis Butare, Dr. Barbara Wells, the Director General of International Potato Center and Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, the Director General of the Forum for Agricultural Research for Africa.
The SPHI is a 10 year multi-partner, multi-donor initiative that seeks to reduce child malnutrition and improve smallholder incomes through the effective production and diversified use of sweetpotato. The first five-year phase (2010-2014) concentrated on Proving the Potential, building up the supply of adapted varieties and testing models of delivery of improved varieties to producers and consumers. The second five-year phase (2015-2019) focuses on Achieving the Potential, ensuring that effective “seed” systems are delivering improved planting material to 10 million sub-Saharan African households.
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