Eating Orange Fights Vitamin A Deficiency and Poverty
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – Helen Keller International (HKI) recently launched a four-year project, funded by The McKnight Foundation, to introduce and promote new varieties of orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes (OFSP) in Burkina Faso. Consumers in the United States are used to eating sweetpotatoes that are orange-fleshed and an excellent source of vitamin A, but, in most of the rest of the world, sweetpotatoes are white-fleshed and contain no vitamin A. Introducing OFSP varieties has been shown to be an effective strategy to control vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and improve food security. The McKnight Foundation has supported similar projects in Eastern Africa, but the introduction of OFSP in West Africa remains limited. HKI initiated this newest project in an effort to demonstrate the potential for OFSP to alleviate malnutrition in the fragile Sahel region of West Africa, where Burkina Faso is located.