Sweet Potato Project

BRIEF SUMMARY

Key Benefits

What We Have Achieved

How We Work

The Project’s Future

What It Costs
By donating to this project, you will enable more households to receive orange fleshed sweet potato vines and train farmers on how to plant and care for the new improved varieties. A donation of £40 ($60) will enable us to deliver improved sweet potato vines to 50 new farmers.

If you’d like to help more farmers, as an individual or a corporate, please get in touch.


FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT

Why Is It So Important?
Malnutrition is a major problem in Malawi as the staple diet is nsima, a porridge made from cassava or maize flour, with little protein and very few vitamins. Although some white fleshed sweet potatoes are grown in our area, the higher yielding orange-fleshed sweet potatoes which are higher in Vitamin A and other nutrients are not grown in the north of Malawi. Farmers and smallholders cannot afford to purchase the vines needed to plant these improved varieties.

RIPPLE Africa want to support more farmers to grow new varieties of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes to improve local people’s diets. Farmers pass on vines to their neighbours increasing production at no extra cost. We are also educating householders in how to cook and use sweet potatoes in family meals to improve their nutritional value. In addition, RIPPLE Africa pre-school teachers provide a sweet potato meal for every child attending their preschools.

What We Have Achieved

The project builds on a pilot project which has already proved very successful. RIPPLE Africa were approached by CIP (The International Potato Center) who were funded to scale up the introduction of orange fleshed sweet potatoes into Malawi, which are higher yielding and contain higher levels of Vitamin A. CIP were looking for an NGO based in the north of Malawi to manage the distribution of the new sweet potato tubers to famers in the area who would then report on their success at growing these and highlight any issues.

RIPPLE Africa are being supplied with sweet potato tubers from a supplier called Nankhwali Farm. Nankhwali focuses on five orange fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) varieties: Chipika, Kadyaubwerere, Kaphulira, Mathuthu and Ana Akwanire.

RIPPLE Africa worked in partnership with the District Agriculture team to carry out a large scale distribution operation, giving bundles of vines to 3,000 farmers within nine geographical areas of Nkhata Bay District. In each bundle there were 100 x 30cm tubers. The District Agriculture team are keen to expand this which is why it is working so well.

These new varieties are also being grown in all our preschools and by many farmers in Nkhata Bay District.

  • Farmers excited about receiving the vinesFarmers excited about receiving the vines
  • Ready to plant the vines at preschoolReady to plant the vines at preschool
  • Sweet potatoes in preschoolSweet potatoes in preschool
  • More nutritious and lovely to eat
    Much more nutritious and lovely to eat
  • Surplus sweet potatoes can be sold at the market
    Surplus sweet potatoes can be sold at the market
  • These new sweet potatoes have been planted out at all our preschools
    These new sweet potatoes have been planted out at all our preschools

How We Work

The farmers start with 100 tubers each but when they harvest, they have enough stems to keep some for their family and to share the rest with other local families to multiply the number of people benefiting.

District Agriculture and RIPPLE Africa environmental staff monitor how well the potatoes grow, measure yields and assist farmers with the ongoing distribution of their surplus tubers.

The Project’s Future

We would like to establish a screening house where vines are grown in sterilised sand or manure in pots and from here can go direct to seed multipliers. We will purchase initial stock of clean orange-fleshed sweet potato vines from Vumbwe research centre in the south of Malawi and select and train ten commercial multiplication farmers in both Nkhata Bay and Mzimba districts who will multiply the vines ready for distribution. They will be able to multiply the vines and sell them to NGOs who will develop projects in other districts, or direct to farmers, making the project sustainable.

We will continue working in partnership with District Agriculture Department teams.

We have seen improved yields from these sweet potatoes and anticipate that this success will continue. Thousands of households are growing and eating the more nutritious varieties of sweet potatoes, significantly improving their diet.

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