Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato - The HarvestPlus Reaching End-Users  (REU) Project
Community drama.

Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato - The HarvestPlus Reaching End-Users (REU) Project


The goal of REU is to identify the most cost-effective strategies for farmer adoption and consumer acceptance of conventionally bred nutrient-dense, biofortified foods. This includes identifying, and relieving, bottlenecks in the production, marketing and consumer continuum. Demonstrated success in deploying biofortified foods will be translated into "lessons learned/best practices" to be applied by HarvestPlus and other biofortification programs.

An additional goal is to identify and engage potentially important end users of transgenic crops and develop effective strategies for improving their acceptance among stakeholder populations. Developing instruments for multiplying biofortified planting materials, creating markets for biofortified seed, crops, and food products; and communicating and changing behavior at the policy, institutional, community, and individual levels are all key objectives of REU.
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By Sylvia Magezi
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First published: September 15, 2008


Vine distribution in Kamuli
Vine distribution in Kamuli.


Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) affects one out of every five children in Uganda (UDHS 2006), and it is one of the deficiencies that lead to increased childhood death from infections and blindness in children resulting from rapture of the cornea. Deficiency is most common in the poorer segments of population where under nutrition and frequent infections are common. VAD predominantly affects older infants, young children and pregnant and lactating mothers.

Improving vitamin A status can reduce child mortality by 30%. Uganda has had a vitamin A supplementation program that provides vitamin A capsules to children aged 6 months to 5 years and lactating mothers, but this approach is not sustainable since it is heavily dependent on donor funding. Efforts of having food based approaches to addressing the problem are encouraged, so that we can have sustainable prevention and control of VAD.

The HarvestPlus Reaching end-users (REU) project.

Preparing dishes for infants and young children using the sweetpotato in Mukono
Preparing dishes for infants and young children using the sweetpotato in Mukono.

The HarvestPlus REU project in Uganda is involved in promoting the production, marketing and consumption of the vitamin A-rich orange fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) with objective of addressing VAD. This project is operational in 3 districts; Bukedea, Kamuli and Mukono and is targeting over 10,000 households. Implemented through local NGOs, it is involved in multiplication and distribution of vines, training farmers on production of the orange fleshed sweet potato and encouraging them to consume it through nutrition education and communication activities like community drama. .

The project has also been involved in linking farmers to traders to promote the marketing the orange fleshed sweet potato. Radio programs and spots have been developed and broadcasted in local languages to increase awareness about the orange sweet potato and increase demand. Community drama has also been used to increase awareness in the target communities, pass on various messages and address barriers inhibiting adoption. As we go into the second year of implementation, farmers have increased the sizes of their OFSP sweetpotato gardens, they are consuming it and it is especially liked by children. Marketing of the potato has begun in the eastern part of the country and will spread to the central as production increases.

Sweet potato gardens in Mukono
Sweet potato gardens in Mukono.

read more HarvestPlus Reaching End Users

By Sylvia Magezi
more from author >>
First published: September 15, 2008
Demand Creation Specialist
Harvest Plus REU project
Tel: Off +256-41-287107
Mob +256-772-483304
Fax +256-41-286947
harvestplus.org