Repositioning sweetpotato for health, wealth creation: Three women show us how

In many countries in sub Saharan Africa, sweetpotato is traditionally grown, sold and processed by women. Over 90% is consumed either boiled or steamed, limiting it’s use.

The orange fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP), with moist texture (low dry matter content) for most varieties and rich orange color presents endless processing capabilities. With this innovation, new partnerships are emerging with CIP building the capacity of private sector actors to utilize OFSP in the food industry thereby catalysing inclusive new value chains for the crop.

Find out how these three women, at the helm of private companies in Tanzania and Kenya, are leading the way with OFSP:

Better Markets for Crops

Zena Mshana of BMC products. Photo: CIP-SSA


Ms Zena Mshena from Tanzania has improved the nutritional status of communities through nutritional awareness of OFSP especially for rural women and children. She runs Better Markets for Crops (BMC) products limited in Tengeru, Tanzania that deals with vine multiplication, root production, processing and marketing of OFSP Products. At BMC, Ms. Zena purchases the roots from farmers at a price of Tsh. 200– 300 per kg    (9-13 US cents), then process them to produce different types of OFSP products including OFSP-based flour, OFSP crisps, OFSP puree bites (Tambi), and OFSP-based spice (Mchuzi Mix). She says that women and youth are key beneficiaries through earning an income as well as accessing nutritional foods and knowledge ofhow to prepare various recipes for both adult and baby foods. Having benefitted from trainings and workshops from CIP, her company also provides education and training to users on nutritional value of OFSP, innovative ways of consuming OFSP dishes, OFSP production as well as postharvest handling.

For more information: Better Markets for Crops (BMC) products

Azuri Health Limited

Tei Mukunya of Azuri health. Top are some of her products made from OFSP. Photo: CIP-SSA

Tei Mukunya, is the Chief Executive Officer of Azuri Health Limited, established in 2010.  The processing company is based in Nairobi, Kenya with a range of products including dried mangoes, dried pineapple passion, dried pineapple, nutriporridge flour, sweetpotato flour and dried fruit mix.  Tei’s journey with OFSP started in 2010. She packages pure OFSP flour with no additives or preservatives and produces two variants – 250 gms and 500 gms. Tei is proud to have the first ever flour of its kind sold in retail shops. She works with youth to market and sell the products. Recently, Azuri Health launched Toto Tosha and Jamii Tosha porridge range with OFSP as one of the ingredients. “It is encouraging to see more players involved in dissemination and commercialization of OFSP. It is good that there is a lot of work on awareness” she says.

For more information: Azuri Health Limited

Sokoine University Graduates Entrepreneurs Cooperative 

Jolenta Joseph showcasing OFSP flour. Photo: CIP-SSA


In Tanzania, Jolenta Joseph is part of the Sokoine University Graduates Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO) founded in 2011 to promote youth involvement in agriculture and to support self-employment and entrepreneurship among youth in Tanzania. SUGECO is involved in OFSP product development and currently sells bread and buns, biscuits, and pure OFSP flour. Through SUGECO, Jolenta and her colleagues have benefitted from trainings organized by CIP in Tanzania leading to the introduction of OFSP roots and products to the community. SUGECO has so far trained over180 food processors on OFSP processing and value addition (80% youth) through support of the CIP led Building Nutritious Food Basket (BNFB) project.  Moreover, they have also conducted various  OFSP campaigns and sensitization meetings in health facilities reaching over 20,000 pregnant and lactating mothers.

Blog by Nathan Ronoh (CIP-SSA)


inclusive growth, IWD2019, sweetpotato, value chains