A sweet potato with tubers

Improving models of under-researched tropical crops

22nd October 2020

Sweet potatoes are an important dietary staple and source of income across many parts of sub Saharan Africa, with some varieties providing an important source of Vitamin A for households. However, work to understand the potential impact that climate change will have on this crop and the people who depend upon it lags far behind the major internationally traded cereal crops of wheat, rice and maize. Evidence for Development is working with the Walker Institute on a new project funded under the UK Global Challenges Research Fund which will develop improved sweet potato crop models, as well as extend the modelling capability of EfD’s software (OHEA and OIHM) on the IDAPS platform to include micronutrient analysis.

As part of this project, sweet potato grown in areas of Uganda we are already working in (as part of the HyCRISTAL and NIMFRU projects) are being sampled and collected, freeze dried and transported to the University of Reading for lab analysis. The reason we are sampling in these areas is that we already have both HEA and IHM data for the collection sites, and this will enable us, to investigate the contribution of households’ own sweet potato production to their overall Vitamin A needs.

The software specification for micronutrient analysis has been developed in close collaboration with nutrition scientists at the University of Reading. This is expanding the capability of our software to help us to better understand dietary deficiencies at household level.


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