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Climate-Resilient Sweet Potato Can Play Essential Role In Food, Nutrition Security In Africa

The Telegraph: The humble sweet potato can help power Africa in the face of climate change
Nane Annan, board member of the Kofi Annan Foundation

“…[W]e must fully exploit the potential of Africa’s staple crops for greater climate resilience, in particular the sweet potato and its orange-fleshed varieties rich in vitamin A. … [I]t is the staple root that offers the quickest nutritional returns in the face of increasingly challenging weather conditions. Instead of waiting up to a year for yam or cassava to mature, sweet potato — with all its nutritional benefits — is ripe and ready in as little as three months. … This can have profound benefits for household food and nutrition security at a time when an estimated 100 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are at risk of blindness from vitamin A deficiency. … The challenges will become even more difficult as climate change intensifies, but some of the most effective solutions for addressing food and nutrition security may lie in simple staples. To this end, I hope decision-makers recognize the need for more investment dedicated to research into breeding the most nutritional and resilient varieties of sweet potato, as well as developing initiatives that get them into the hands of farmers and families. … Africa’s ability to feed herself in a warmer world could depend on it” (3/18).