CIP SSA newsletter November 2014

Stories and updates from the people and projects of CIP Sub-Saharan Africa – Newsletter Vol. 3, No 3 – November 2014


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words


Visit the CIP Flickr Site to see the people & projects of CIP-SSA in action!
The CIP sub-Saharan Africa regional image database is a great way to see what our staff, field workers and partners are up to.  See a collection of colorful photos from the recent 5th Annual Technical Meeting for the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative (SPHI) and images from a CIP research project working to improve potato yields for farmers in the Usambara Highlands in Lushoto, Tanzania.

CIP on Facebook & Twitter


Taking the Discussion about Potato & Sweetpotato to the World!
The social media team at CIP is always looking for potato & sweetpotato material – newspaper articles, academic articles, images, videos, interviews.   So next time you read an interesting article about potato breeding, or come across a great sweetpotato recipe, or find a video about nutrition in East Africa on youtube – please let us know. Join CIP on Facebook and Twitter and please submit information to Sara Quinn, CIP SSA Communications Specialist at



Celebrating Five Years of Progress in Sweetpotato Research for Development in Sub-Saharan Africa


Antonio, the manager of Innovative Ingredient Solutions, offers guests a taste of breads, muffins, ice creams and jams all made out of Orange-Fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) at an exhibit in the Jacaranda Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. The exhibit was just one many at CIP’s 5th Annual Technical Meeting for the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative (SPHI), held at Nairobi’s Jacaranda Hotel from 9-11 September 2014.  

CIP Director General Barbara Wells, who attended the meeting, announced: “Today I recommit CIP toward enabling at least 15 million households to improve the quality of their diets and raise their crop incomes over the next 10 years in countries with micronutrient deficiencies. We will reach this goal by increasing the production and utilization of nutritious sweetpotato, starting with biofortified OFSP.” 

Read the full story here. And visit the CIP SSA Flickr site to see photos from the event. 

The SPHI ‘Through the lens of a camera’ photo contest was held as part of the 3 day conference.  14 CIP staff and 13 participants from other organizations submitted a total of 165 photographs. The winning photographs were announced on the last day of the SPHI conference. The winning photographs can be viewed here. Congratulations to all the winners and asante sana to everyone who entered!



Improving Potato Yields for farmers in Tanzania’s Usumbara Highlands

An ongoing, promising study led by CIP and with partners in the densely populated Usumbara Highlands, in Lushoto district, Northern Tanzania aims to empower smallholders to plant potatoes year round while increasing yields. Advanced clones and improved varieties that include Asante, Shangii and Obama are currently being tested. Visit the CIP SSA Flickr site to see photos of the recent field visit here

View the audio slideshow about the project here.

A story about this project was published in the latest CCAFS newsletter, The SmartAG Partner, and you can read the full article here.



The New Dawn for Potato Documentary


“The New Potato Dawn” is a documentary released by the International Potato Center (CIP) and produced by Arica Drumbeat Communications that showcases efforts by scientists on the management of the bacterial wilt disease and improvement of soil fertility. The scientists from CIP, Egerton University in Kenya, Ethiopia Agricultural Research Institute, National Agriculture Institute (NARO) Uganda, the University of Nairobi, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and Boku University Vienna Austria relate how their research efforts have boosted production of quality potato by tenfold for both seed and ware potato in the region.

You can watch the video here.


The Ladies of Kibati

Helping Aspiring Potato Farmers in Kenya’s Kirinyaga County

CIP recently partnered with a small women’s collective in Kirinyaga County which stretches along the picturesque slopes of Mt Kenya. The Kibati women’s group undertakes a range of income generating activities that include growing maize, beans, bananas and assorted vegetables on their small farms. The collective is venturing into potato farming as a new opportunity, and CIP is providing support, training and insight. As the second most important crop in Kenya for food security and rural prosperity, potato presents great potential for this group.

For the full story, please click here.


New Orange-Fleshed Sweetpotato for Africa Catalogue Launched

The 2014 Orange-Fleshed Sweetpotato for Africa Catalogue is now available. It provides an up-to-date, comprehensive overview of newly-released and upcoming releases of Orange-Fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) varieties in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This new catalogue is an excellent reference for anyone working with OFSP in SSA, with information relevant to scientists, development professionals, extensionists and other stakeholders.
Maria Andrade, Senior Sweetpotato breeder for SSA & ASIA and Country Liaison Scientist, launched the 2nd edition of the Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato for Africa Catalogue 2014 in Ethiopia and in Mozambique.
Read the full story here.
The OFSP catalogue can be downloaded from the CIP website here.


Insights from the Field

Capturing Stories and Lessons from CIP Sweetptoato Projects in SSA
CIP recently launched a new series of pamphlets about lessons learned from field experiences. Titled ‘Insights from the Field’, they encouraged participants to share the knowledge gained from time spent working in the field on projects. The short series focuses on specific case studies and stories from programs that help to put a human face on CIP’s work. The stories range from reflecting on how a simple cooking class can change lives in rural Tanzania, to learning lessons from a project that brought orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) to rural parts of Mozambique. Read the full story here.
The flyers can be found at the Sweetpotato Knowledge Portal.



Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego, California

The Mama Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (Mama SASHA) project – led by the International Potato Center (CIP) and PATH’s Kenya Country Program – integrates agriculture and nutrition into prenatal healthcare to maximize the benefits of orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP).
In April 2014, scientific findings from two PATH projects – Mama SASHA and Infant and Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) – were presented at the Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego, California. The Mama SASHA and IYCN projects were highlighted in four oral presentations and poster sessions at the conference. Read the full story here.
CIP’s Mama SASHA Project Highlighted at the




Jumpstarting OFSP in West Africa

By Edward Carey
Pilot efforts to develop markets for orange-fleshed sweetpotato, in order to stimulate production of the crop and to help combat vitamin A deficiency (VAD), are underway in Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, in West Africa. They are part of three-year project that partners with a diversity of NGO and public sector actors to target both informal and formal markets in each country.

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’. Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso are no exception. Orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) has the potential to provide a rich dietary source of vitamin A that can significantly reduce VAD among vulnerable populations (particularly young children and lactating mothers) at the community level.

The team wants demand for OFSP to be market-led in West Africa, both in areas where the crop is currently important (but OFSP is not), and in areas where sweetpotato is not particularly important, but where it has the potential to be.

CIP has a strong team in West Africa to help Jumpstarting OFSP work through diversified markets. That team recently expanded as Erna Abidin transferred from Malawi to Ghana, where she will work as Regional Seed Specialist and Project Manager, and Justus Lotade-Maje, M&E Specialist, moved to Nigeria following a brief period of orientation in Rwanda. Olapeju Phorbee, Project Leader of the Sweetpotato for Health and Wealth project, and Ted Carey, Regional Sweetpotato Breeder and Leader of the Jumpstarting OFSP project, on a visit to pilot sites in Osun and Kwara States in Nigeria, and to conduct an Actor-Centered Theory of Change workshop with key partners in order to arrive at a shared vision for the projects in Osun and Kwara.

Prior to the workshop, the team paid a visit to the Deputy Governor of Osun State, who is responsible for the state’s Omeals Homegrown School Feeding Program, which feeds over 250,000 primary school children daily. The team was elated to receive the enthusiastic support of the state government, and will now work with partners to ensure the successful adoption of OFSP in the school lunch menu.

The team is working towards four major objectives at each target location: 1) identification of markets, 2) organization of farmer groups to serve those markets, 3) development of commercial seed systems to serve the farmers, and 4) increased consumption of OFSP and other vitamin A-rich foods by vulnerable target populations, particularly women and children under the age of five.

Read more about the project here.



Robert Mwanga, Sweetpotato Pioneer

By Joel Ranck
Robert Mwanga is a soft spoken scientist whose achievements over more than three decades have brought the benefits of orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) to his native Uganda as well as several other countries in the region. In Uganda, sweetpotato is part of the rural and urban table. However, prior to Robert’s work in the 1980s, only the white-fleshed varieties of sweetpotato were eaten and the Ugandan Government had prioritized other crops over sweetpotato to the potential detriment of Vitamin A-deficient Ugandans. Robert’s successes have been shared throughout the region. His program generated breeding populations (seed), which he sent to Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa, and Burkina Faso. Read the full story here.
Copyright © 2014 International Potato Center, All rights reserved.
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Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Office
PO Box 25171
Nairobi 00603, Kenya

International Potato Center (CIP)
CIP Headquarters:
Apartado 1558, Lima 12, Peru


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