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    18 May, 2016
Consumption of sweet potatoes promoted to combat chronic malnutrition
Nampula (Mozambique), 18 May (AIM) – The production and consumption of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP) is being promoted in Mozambique to tackle the country’s chronic malnutrition problem.

According to statistics quoted on 17 May by the International Potato Centre (CIP), about a quarter of Mozambique’s population face food insecurity during the year. In addition, it is estimated that 43 per cent of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition. Vitamin A deficiency affects 69 per cent of children under five.

These figures were given during a speech by Maria Andrade of the CIP during a meeting in the northern province of Nampula.

The government predicts that by 2018 more than 157,000 families in six districts in Nampula and Zambezia will be growing and consuming improved varieties of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. The new varieties provide better nutrition, improved drought resistance, and higher yields.

CIP is partnering with Mozambique’s Agricultural Research Institute (IIAM) to implement the project in the districts of Murrupula, Rapale, Meconta and Monapo (in Nampula province), and Alto Molocue and Gurue (in Zambezia). The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

According to Andrade, the project, which will last from 2015 to 2018, will reach 22,500 households directly with a further 135,000 indirectly benefiting. She stated, “we will use fifteen drought resistant varieties which were released for use in Mozambique in 2011. Most of the OFSP will be consumed domestically. However, fifteen per cent of the target group will be supported in larger scale production to enable them to sell the surplus”.

The Nampula provincial governor, Victor Borges, told the meeting that he believed that the initiative will contribute significantly to the reduction or mitigation of food and nutritional insecurity.

Since the start of the project, 76 producers have sold OFSP to 18,513 households, 62 associations, and seven partners. This has generated 782,000 meticais (about 14,000 US dollars)

During the same period, 9,255 children under the age of five have benefited from the nutritional programme in Nampula and Zambezia.
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