A Global Agricultural Research Partnership

Going for Gold: Orange Sweet Potato and the Olympic Hunger Summit

Ugandan children dig in to a plate of orange sweet potato. Photo by: A. Ball (HarvestPlus)

As the Olympics come to a close this weekend, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and Brazil’s Vice President Michel Temer have called on global leaders to step up efforts to improve nutrition and reduce stunting among children before the next Olympics in Rio.  According to DFID almost one in three of the world’s poorest children cannot reach their full potential due to malnutrition.

The orange-fleshed sweet potato is set to play a key role.  DFID, in fact, has already featured the work of the International Potato Center (CIP) and HarvestPlus in their recent post “Healthy babies are sweet thanks to powerful potatoes” in a lead up to the event this weekend.

Both CIP (a member of the CGIAR Consortium) and HarvestPlus (a CGIAR Challenge Program) are extremely honored to have been invited to join the Global Hunger Event in order to profile the orange-fleshed sweet potato work (OFSP). New research from HarvestPlus shows the positive impact of vitamin A rich orange sweet potato on rural communities in Uganda. Researchers found that Orange sweet potato provided significant amounts of vitamin A to malnourished Ugandan children and women and that a modest improvement in vitamin A levels in the body was measurable in some cases. Coupled with similar findings from Mozambique, a strong case has now been made that biofortification works. CIP is scaling up orange sweet potato throughout much of Africa.

“We join Prime Minister Cameron’s and Vice President Temer’s call to end global hunger and childhood malnutrition,” says Pamela Anderson, CIP’s Director General. “Concerted action to promote agricultural research and innovative, pro-poor agricultural strategies is vital”.

For more information:

Sweetpotato set to play an Olympic role in fight against malnutrition (CIP)

Orange Sweet Potato Makes the Case that Biofortification Works (HarvestPlus)

Healthy babies are sweet thanks to powerful potatoes (DFID)

David Cameron’s hunger summit to coincide with last day of Olympics (the

Photo credit: A. Ball (HarvestPlus)

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