Uganda is the world's second largest producer of sweetpotato after China. About 43 million children in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are at risk of vitamin A deficiency (VAD); in Uganda 20 per cent of children and 19 per cent of women are vitamin A deficient. VAD can be addressed using orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) varieties with high ß-carotene content. The Uganda National Sweetpotato Program (UNSP) and its partners developed and released two OFSP landrace varieties in 2004. Another two improved OFSP varieties with desirable traits and resistance to the devastating diseases Alternaria bataticola blight and sweetpotato virus disease were released in 2007. The four released OFSP varieties have been deployed in Uganda and several other countries to alleviate VAD. The lessons drawn from the UNSP receiving steady support clearly show that it takes a long time to develop technologies, and to disseminate and commercialize them. It requires commitment by the partners for effective commercialization of the developed technologies. The programme used a partnership approach to engage different stakeholders in the value chain to speed up dissemination and commercialization of OFSP varieties and other technologies. Compelling evidence exists of the potential contribution of OFSP to improved nutrition in Uganda and SSA.
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability (2011) 9 (1) 42-49 [DOI:10.3763/ijas.2010.0546]