Biotech Updates

SASHA for Sub-Saharan Africa

October 23, 2009

The International Potato Center Project on Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) is a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's recipient of a five year support amounting to $21 million. "Melinda and I believe that helping the poorest small holder farmers grow more and get it to market is the world's single most powerful lever for reducing hunger and poverty," Gates said in the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Pamela K. Anderson, Director General of the International Potato Center explains that, "this project will improve the food security, nutrition, and livelihoods of at least 150,000 families directly, with an indirect impact on 1 million families in Sub-Saharan Africa in five years, and the creation of conditions to reach 10 million households in 10 years."

The project is part of a 10-year, multi-donor Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative, which seeks to reduce child malnutrition and improve small holder incomes and livelihoods through greater awareness, expanded market opportunities, and the diversified use of sweetpotato in Sub-Saharan Africa. Among the focus of the research include women farmer empowerment, promotion of orange-fleshed varieties that are rich in pro-vitamin A, development of a wide range of locally-adapted sweetpotato varieties that are resistant to drought and disease, and access to disease-free potato planting materials. The project also aims to establish three regional support programs, in Ghana, Uganda,and Mozambique that will promote sustainable local breeding skills and capacity.

View the CIP press release at