Recently, Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Agriculture added the orange-fleshed sweet potato to the nation’s food basket. Some call this a giant step towards improving exports of sweet potatoes and the livelihoods of farmers.
Improved livelihoods through the adoption and increased production of diversified crops are underpinned by the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year. The plan is set to revitalize the agricultural sector in line with the vision of making Zimbabwe an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.
Secretary in the ministry, John Basera, noted that the new variety will contribute to diversifying the food and nutrition system as well as improve income sources. This means that smallholder and communal farmers are tipped to benefit more through the adoption of the orange-fleshed sweet potato.
There is already a growing demand for orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in major markets such as the Netherlands, which offers export opportunities for local farmers. The demand is backed by growing interest to consume super-foods across the world and sweet potatoes are touted to be rich in dietary fibre, complex carbohydrates, and beta-carotene, with reasonable contents of other micro-nutrients which include vitamin B5 and B6 as well as manganese.