MLBP promotes production of sweet potatoes in Mangochi

Mangochi, People in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Chowe in Mangochi have embraced the cultivation of orange fleshed sweet potatoes being advocated by the Malawi Lake Basin Programme (MLBP).

The orange fleshed sweet potatoes are known for their potential in increasing a person natural defense against diseases and infections.

Speaking in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (MANA) Thursday after a field day at Kawinga Village in the area of TA Chowe, one of the lead farmers at Maiwa Extension Planning Area (EPA), Masautso Kachitsa said he has already witnessed the benefits of the orange fleshed sweet potatoes in his family.

The programme has taught us that orange fleshed sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of Vitamin A which also helps the body’s natural defense against illnesses and infections, he said.

Kachitsa said a lot of people in the area were heavily affected by last year’s food crisis but his family was food secure because the sweet potatoes in his farm survived the drought which affected the production of crops like maize.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer for MLBP in Mangochi, Mwabi Sichinga said they organized the field day to provide an opportunity to farmers in the area to appreciate the production of the six varieties of the orange fleshed sweet potatoes of; Kadyaubwelere, Zunde, Chipika, Matutu, Ana akwanire and Kaphulira on the mother plot at Maiwa EPA.

He pointed out that the objective of the programme is to encourage farmers to grow orange fleshed sweet potatoes because of its health benefits especially to children under the age of five and lactating mothers while increasing crop production at household level.

For nutritional purposes, we would like farmers to prepare orange fleshed sweet potatoes for their under five children and we will still call them on the nutritional field day so that they will witness cooking demonstrations on how to prepare nutritious food from the prestigious crop, Sichinga said.

He added they use mother � baby approach in their interventions whereby 18 farmers are mother farmers who cultivate both the six varieties while 918 farmers cultivate only one variety.

We have used all the six varieties on the small plot because we want to research and promote the varieties which the farmers will choose and which will adapt to their localities so that we can afterwards produce on a larger scale, the Officer hinted.

MLBP is a consortium of five organizations and other three local partners in National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi, Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives and Farmers Union of Malawi.

Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA