World Food Prize winner collaborates with SAWBO to educate African sweet potato farmers

It will be an honour to moderate a roundtable on nutrition during the World Food Prize. So, it couldn’t be more fitting to see a client collaborate with a past winner. 

In arid regions in Africa, smallholder sweet potato farmers often struggle to store planting material for the next season. In response to this challenge, researchers of the International Potato Centre (CIP) developed the Triple S technique. Adopting this technique helped farmers have vines available to plant in the rainy season and led to increased yields. In order to propagate this information, Scientific Animation Without Borders partnered with CIP Principal Scientist and 2016 World Food Prize winner Dr Jan Low to animate this technique.

Dr Jan Low, Dr Maria Andrade and Dr Robert Mwanga of the CIP received the World Food Prize in 2016 for developing a vitamin A biofortified sweet potato variety for farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. One small root of this sweet potato variety contains the amount of vitamin A needed to meet the daily requirement of a small child. This is highly significant as an estimated 42.4% of children under the age of five are at risk of vitamin A deficiency leaving them vulnerable to blindness and immune disorder. The development of the vitamin A biofortified orange-fleshed sweet potato and the Triple S technique makes this essential nutrient more available to families as small-holder farmers are able to cultivate it successfully.

The animated video of the Triple S: Storage in Sand and Sprouting technique is more accessible to extension officers and easier to pass on to farmers as it provides a visual representation of the process. This is a great example of technology and agriculture coming together to improve food security and tackle non-communicable diseases stemming from poor nutrition. As the World Food Prize award goes to another laureate this year, I hope to see more of such collaborations in the future.

 

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