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Growing sweet futures: potato farmers in Tanzania and Uganda

Vitamin A deficiency is a major health problem in Uganda and Tanzania. Affecting more than a third of women and children, it is the leading cause of childhood blindness. Sweet potatoes are a rich source of Vitamins A, B, C and E, fibre, and potassium, iron and zinc. And just 125g of orange-fleshed sweet potato can give a pre-school child their recommended daily intake of Vitamin A. That’s why Farm Africa is working with farmers in Uganda and Tanzania to make the most of this superfood.


Tanzania

The Tanzanian government is running a major campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. More than just a health fix, it also makes sense for farmers. In the Morogoro region of the country, sweet potatoes are resilient to local pests. This makes them a great vegetable to capitalise on.

As awareness grows, so does the demand for orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. To meet this need, Farm Africa has worked to establish demonstration plots across the Morogoro region, where farmers can learn all about this wonder crop.

The project has given 3,000 local farmers the chance to gain practical, hands-on experience in sweet potato farming. Farm Africa has also helped them to set up a new farming cooperative. Armed with information on local markets, co-op members can now sell their produce in bulk for a better price.

Read more about the project in Tanzania

Uganda

Uganda is Africa’s leading producer of sweet potatoes. The Teso sub-region in particular boasts a climate and soil particularly suited to this important crop. The problem, however, is that the supply chain is inefficient. Most farmers plant and harvest at the same time – saturating markets and pushing prices down. Traditional harvesting methods also mean that their produce soon perishes. On average, just one third of the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes harvested make it to market.

To maximise the potential of Uganda’s orange-fleshed sweet potato farms, Farm Africa is helping local communities improve their processing techniques to build a stronger supply chain. As part of this, Teso’s farmers will use a brand new production centre to dry and chip their potatoes. This means they can be stored for up to three months, and sold throughout the year when prices are higher.

Read more about the project in Uganda