Scaling up Sweetpotato through Agriculture & Nutrition – Annual Planning Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda

The 5-year regional project led by the International Potato Center (CIP) and the UK Department for International Development is working to enhance nutrition and food security of women and young children in East and Southern Africa through integrated agriculture – nutrition interventions utilizing orange – fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP). The project aims to reach 1.2 million farming households in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Rwanda.

Country teams from Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Kenya joined regional staff from Uganda and Kenya in Kigali for a five-day discussion on all things OFSP! The meeting was a fantastic opportunity for staff from the 4 SUSTAIN countries to discuss, reflect and plan. The weeklong meeting included lively debate and technical discussions on issues of sweetpotato processing and markets; improving nutrition awareness and practices and disseminating sweetpotato vines.

The SUSTAIN team enjoying a moment outside at the beginning of the week long annual planning meeting
The SUSTAIN team enjoying a moment outside at the beginning of the week long annual planning meeting (Credit: S. Quinn/CIP)

A highlight of the week was the field day in which meeting attendees visited project sites south of Kigali. Participants were able to walk the fields with a women’s group working on OFSP vine multiplication. A cooperative specializing in OFSP processing and food production showcased how they’ve successfully incorporated OFSP flour into some of their products including Queencakes. Two local farmers shared their first-hand experiences with OFSP roots and multiplying OFSP vines and the positive impact they’ve had on their families’ income and health. It was a fantastic day and a great opportunity to discuss ideas and generate debate on issues relating to OFSP production, utilization and nutrition.

OFSP products (OFSP Queencakes and OFSP Flour) on display at Indyo Inoze, a cooperative from Muhanga District which SUSTAIN staff visited during the field trip
OFSP products (OFSP Queencakes and OFSP Flour) on display at Indyo Inoze, a cooperative from Muhanga District which SUSTAIN staff visited during the field trip (Credit: S. Quinn/CIP)

The week also presented the opportunity to officially launch SUSTAIN Rwanda at a fantastic event which saw partners, donors and media come together to celebrate the project. Read more about the launch here.

ABOUT SUSTAIN: SUSTAIN 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 biofortified orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP). The goal is to reach 1.2 million households with under-5 year old children in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Rwanda. SUSTAIN supports integrated interventions in agriculture, nutrition, utilization and marketing to strengthen production and consumption of OFSP.

Orange Fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) have a huge potential for improving vitamin A status among young children and strengthening livelihoods in Rwanda. Biofortified, vitamin A rich OFSP varieties are an effective tool for reducing vitamin A deficiency (VAD) among children under five years of age, the group most at risk of VAD.

Jean Claude Nshimiyimana, Seed Systems Officer at CIP Rwanda discusses OFSP and SUSTAIN with the local media on a field trip to visit OFSP farmers, multipliers and processors
Jean Claude Nshimiyimana, Seed Systems Officer at CIP Rwanda discusses OFSP and SUSTAIN with the local media on a field trip to visit OFSP farmers, multipliers and processors (Credit: S. Quinn/CIP)

VITA an OFSP variety grown in Rwanda
VITA an OFSP variety grown in Rwanda (Credit: S. Quinn/CIP)

SUSTAIN Staff visiting an OFSP vine multiplier in Southern Rwanda
SUSTAIN Staff visiting an OFSP vine multiplier in Southern Rwanda (Credit: S. Quinn/CIP)

SUSTAIN Staff enjoying the field visit to OFSP vine multipliers in Southern Rwanda
SUSTAIN Staff enjoying the field visit to OFSP vine multipliers in Southern Rwanda (Credit: S. Quinn/CIP)

You can read more about the SUSTAIN project and CIP’s global Sweetpotato program here. See photos from the event on the CIP SSA Flickr site.

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