Farmers in Missenyi and Muleba districts of kagera Region in north western part of Tanzania are due to benefit from a new programme that is promoting the Orange Freshened Sweet Potatoes (OFSP) as a means to mitigate vitamin A deficiency in children and expecting mothers, while at the same time enhancing both household food security and revenues.
This has been revealed in a 2 day conference organized by the agricultural research Institute of Maruku near Bukoba, in which scientists from Ari Maruku and Ari Ukiriguru together with local Ngos in Kagera particularly KOLPING, Partage, FADECO and others discussed ways of upscaling the growing of OFSP to meet the above benefits.
This 2 day conference which opened 7 – 8th May, 2012, has brough together participants from the two target districts of Muleba and Missenyi. Active organisations in this field, Media (Radio FADECO and radio Kasibante have been represented), the Eden centre for Appropriate Technology of karagwe; and representative of interested farmers from as far as Kasindaga have been present.
The conference has been opened by the Zonal Director Dr. Nkuba who in his remarks called on all stakeholders to get involved to ensure that, the technology of growing and consuming the OFSP is disseminated. He called on scientsists to move away from remaining on the DEMO scale to upscale technologies to realize the benefits of increased food production, and then mainstreaming into the value addition chain through value additon food processing, diversified utilization to markets.
The message that was gathered on day one of the conference was a call for all stakeholders to join hands to successfully upscale the OFSP technology. Several concerns were raised such as limited financing to agriculture, the lack of extension staff, lackof capital to upscale some of the technologies and lack of market access.
On their part, FADECO RADIO represented by its Director Joseph Sekiku, accepted resolutely to participate given his professional background as a scientist specializing in post harvest management. According to Mr. Sekiku, FADECO RADIO is willing to make available both staff and equipment, who work with researchers and other subject matter specialists in packaging content on these Orange Freshened sweet Potatoes (OFSP) into broadcast content.