The Simple Sweet Potato Is Changing Lives In Uganda
It is amazing how the simplest of factors can bring about the most sweeping of changes. In Uganda, these factors are the sweet potato and the Ugandan child. Through an innovative initiative, Ugandan children are cultivating the vines of hope for themselves as well as for the future.
Uganda has some of the most fertile pieces of land in the Eastern African region and is considered the bread basket of Eastern Africa. Yet, ironically, many of Uganda’s children and their families suffer from poor nutrition and are continually exposed to food insecurity. Child Family Health International estimates that the level of severe malnutrition among children under age 5 is about 45 percent. This is a worrisome statistic in a country where agriculture is the main economic activity, with peasant farmers comprising 80 percent of the population. However, an innovative initiative promises to alter this status quo.
The sweet potato is fast-growing in Uganda — not only on the ground, but also in terms of popularity. This root vegetable is highly nutritive and is an important source of vitamin A. According to USAID, sweet potatoes are the fourth most important staple food in Uganda, and this has further aided the uptake of the plant.Students are a key driving force of the OFSP program. They grow a surplus of vines at school so that they are able to take extras home, and in turn, provide a source of food for their families.
The OFSP program promotes family involvement in alleviating two of Uganda’s problems: food insecurity and malnutrition in children. The ultimate goal is nurturing sustainable and nutritive agriculture in Uganda. You can get more details on this initiative from The Hunger Site to find out how you can help.