The story of sweet potato
Vitamin A is the second most common micro nutrient deficiency in the world. Orange sweet potato is the highest plant source of vitamin A - even higher than carrots which do not grow well in hot climates. A child can be vitamin A sufficient by eating just one tenth of an orange sweet potato per day.
Vitamin A can be stored in the liver so one does not need to eat vitamin A sources every day. Orange sweet potato consumption can also help children recover from diarrhoea – the second leading cause of death amongst children under five years old.
Australia has had orange sweet potatoes for many years, but until recently Africa has had only white sweet potato. Twenty years ago in Mozambique, World Vision started assisting plant breeders to test new orange sweet potato varieties for Africa. Since the first orange sweet potato variety was released in 2003, World Vision has been working on scaling up these new varieties in many African and Asian countries. This is helping children avoid severe vitamin A deficiency and blindness.
How do World Vision programs incorporate bio fortified crops?
World Vision works with partners like Harvest Plus to get the latest high yielding bio fortified crops and encourages their spread through community seed multiplication programs. At the same time, we run nutrition education programs so that the community learns about more nutritious foods. These programs help parents develop a better understanding of the kinds of foods their children need to grow up healthy – incorporating community knowledge and other locally available foods as well as bio fortified crops.