Sweet Potatoes Saving Lives In Africa
This is Maria Isabel Andrade from the International Potato Center in Africa. She drives a bright orange Toyota Land Cruiser with pictures of sweet potatoes painted on the side. She is working with the African government on a big marketing campaign to get farmers to grow orange-fleshed sweet potatoes instead of white for their high quanitites of beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A.
In Africa, women and children suffer greatly from vitamin A deficiencies. Check out the infographic that explains why vitamin A is so important and how the sweet potato can help. Just one scoop of cooked sweet potato fulfills a child’s daily need for vitamin A. The sweet potato campaign has distributed vitamin A-rich orange sweet potatoes to 24,000 farming household in Uganda and Mozambique.
Recently, scientists gathered evidence from Mozambique and Uganda that these vegetables are, in fact, improving people’s lives. Children who are eating them do have more vitamin A in their blood. Based on other studies of the effects of vitamin A, nutritionists are confident that the boost is big enough to improve the health of those children.
Read the whole NPR story here and find out how the initiative came to be.