The Sweet Potato Effect: How Nutrition is Taking Root in Mozambique

Chinate Pedro Phini is a farmer in the Capimbi village of Mozambique. He was trained by HKI to produce orange sweet potatoes because he is respected in his community for his knowledge.

“Families in this area typically don’t eat many vegetables,” he says.

But thanks to farmers like Chinate, more than 21,000 families in 130 villages in the seven most food insecure districts of Tete Province will benefit from adding vitamin A-rich sweet potatoes to their diets. Once trained, these farmers share their new knowledge with vulnerable families to encourage them to cultivate and consume the roots. One small sweet potato per day provides a child with all the vitamin A their growing body needs to stay healthy.

“The families I work with appreciate having a new crop to feed young children, especially when I tell them it will help their children’s vision and fight infections,” he explains.

Chinate is also benefiting from his new role in ways he couldn’t have imagined.

“I am supporting the Ministry of Education’s school lunch program and have already provided 1250 kg (2,756 pounds) of orange-fleshed sweet potato to three schools.”

HKI also trains health workers and volunteers to support the same families in adopting essential nutrition and hygiene actions like handwashing and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Their collective action is creating ripples of health throughout the community.  — Faizal Motte