(Xinhua) — Potato organizations on Monday called for deliberate efforts to increase potato and sweet potatoes production for sustainable nutritious food systems in Africa.
They made the call at the opening of the 11th triennial Conference of the African Potato Association (APA) in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.
Potato and sweet potatoes present global opportunities such as enhancing dietary quality in resource-poor countries, improving productivity and farm income as well as facilitating climate change adaption, said Oscar Ortiz, deputy director general of the International Potato Center, which co-organized the event with the African Potato Association and Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.
Besides feeding needs as a source of energy and vitamins, potatoes present opportunities through trade and processing which can boost entrepreneurship, said Romain Cools, vice president of the World Potato Congress.
Average productivity of potato and sweet potato in Rwanda is 10 tons per hectare and 7 tons per hectare respectively, and it has 101 fully functional potato collection centers in major potato producing areas, said Rwandan Minister of Agriculture Geraldine Mukeshimana.
More than 200 researchers, decision makers and development partners from 20 African countries are attending the conference that began on Monday.
The four-day event is held under the theme “Leveraging the contribution of potato and sweet potato for sustainable nutritious food systems.”
The number of undernourished people in sub-Saharan Africa rose from 181 million in 2010 to about 222 million in 2016, according to the World Health Organization.
Source: Xinhua. Original report in full here