Sweetpotato seeds multipliers have called for a joint platform in order to have a common voice on the promotion of the Orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The call was made on Saturday, 24th August, 2019 during the 10th Annual Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative Technical Meeting held in Kigali under the theme “Sweetpotato Role in Africa’s food systems: Teaching diverse groups in diverse settings”.
The Meeting which was organized by the International Potato Centre whose regional Office is in Nairobi and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) with headquarters in Accra brought together 17 Sub-Saharan African Countries, scientists and practitioners and some other people who joined the meeting from other countries such as France, United States, England and Peru.
Speaking to TOPAFRICANEWS reporter at the sideline of the meeting, the International Potato Centre Principal Scientist and Project Leader of SASHA Project Dr. Jan Low revealed that the 10th Annual Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative Technical Meeting is also part of celebrating ten years of getting into community and practice together in teaching diverse groups in diverse settings focusing on the role of sweetpotato in food systems.
She added that “The Meeting was organized as a strategic event because it is aligned with the upcoming 11th triennial African Potato Association (APA) conference which takes place next week in Kigali, Rwanda and that meeting highlights both sweetpotato and potato production in Sub-Saharan Africa but with the particular highlights on fields trips and eyewitness on the advantage that is being made in Sweet Potato and Potato production.”
Call for a joint Sweetpotato Platform
Despite progress made so far in Sweetpotato promotion, there are still less Governments will to make sweetpotato a priority crop.
Investors in the sector said although Sweetpotato play a crucial role in the food system irrespective season, there are still lack of political will to encourage Sweeetpotato farming which is resulting into drastic impacts on the availability of the sweetpotato products and seeds.
It is in this regards that they are calling for a joint platform where the common voice can make the Governments to take a lead in the promotion of the said crop.
Millions of families in Africa and South Asia have improved their diet with special varieties of sweetpotato designed to tackle vitamin A deficiency.
Taking into consideration that role, Serge Ganza, Managing director of Africa Food Supplier limited in Kamonyi District, Southern Province of Rwanda said that “having the Platform for Sweetpotato is very important because it will enable farmers and suppliers to have one voice to interact with the Government.”
“As you know we have different seeds multipliers in the country working individually but once we have a platform we will have one voice where we can impose Government to make a policy for not only individually but for all multipliers to promote OFSP.” He noted.