SWEETPOTATO AGRI-FOOD SYSTEMS PROGRAM

The International Potato Center (CIP) responds to twenty-first century agricultural development challenges by organizing its work into three programs: Biodiversity for the future, and potato and sweetpotato agri-food systems.

Recent program achievements

Strategic Program objective

Sweetpotato will enable at least
15 million resource‐poor
households in Africa and Asia
to improve the quality of their diets and raise
their crop incomes by 15% by 2023.

A hungry world

Today’s world is a hungry place. Some 870 million people are undernourished; the number of those who suffer from ‘hidden hunger’—deficiency of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients—is pushing two billion. Undernutrition has increased in many Asian and African countries in recent years and the number of underweight children has almost doubled since 1980. In developing countries, the effects of hunger and malnutrition on the rural poor can be devastating. Vitamin A deficiency (VAD), one of the most pernicious forms of undernourishment, can limit growth, weaken immunity, lead to blindness and increase mortality in children. Globally, 165 million children younger than 5 years suffer from VAD, mostly in Africa and Asia.

Huge potential

The vast majority of the world’s poor live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. With the right technologies, small-scale farmers can adapt to the increasing threats posed by climate change, produce more nutritious and marketable food, and take advantage of economic  opportunities created by growing demand among expanding and urbanizing populations.

Combating vitamin-A deficiency

CIP and partners have developed and disseminated dozens of biofortified, vitamin A-rich OFSP varieties in Africa and Asia, helping to raise the nutritional status and, to a lesser extent, the incomes of more than five million households. In 2016, three CIP scientists received the World Food Prize in recognition of their role in using biofortified crop to enhance nutritional outcomes. Biofortification focuses on increasing the pro-vitamin A content of new varieties through conventional breeding, boosting the availability of vitamin A for farm families and consumers. By promoting OFSP nutrition education at the community level, CIP-led work has made it a cost-effective and sustainable source of vitamin A for vulnerable populations, especially women and young children. By working with large food processors and fresh root traders in Africa, CIP has also facilitated the development of new value chains for OFSP, creating income-generating opportunities including for women and young people.

1. Genetic diversity: conservation, management and DNA sequencing
2. Breeding: nutritional improvement, increasead yields; climate resilience; participatory varietal selection
3. Seed system development: seed production, multiplication, distribution and quality control
4. Sustainable intensification: nutrition education, agronomic training and post-harvest handling and storage
5. Value chains: business training, improved product processing, enhanced market linkages
6. Inclusion: technologies and methods targeted particularly at women and young people
7. MEL: assessing and validating scaling tools and impact assessment methods

Research-for-development program products
The sweetpotato agri-food systems program is made up of a portfolio of research-for-development products.

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