Use sweet potatoes as emergency food

Tuesday May 12 2020

Not all vulnerable Ugandans living in urban areas have been considered in the relief food distribution. Many urban, peri-urban and
rural households continue struggling to put food on the table because they depend on daily income earned from affected activities.

One of the reasons for not distributing food nationally is the assumption that peri-urban and rural households have access to food or arable land which they can use to grow crops and they are less likely to be affected by the lockdown. This is subjective.

But there are some quick-maturing, highyielding and nutritious crops that can come in handy during this Covid-19 crisis. One such crop is the vitamin A-rich Orange-Fleshed Sweet potato (OFSP) which is not only nutritious but also early maturing.

Within three to four months, OFSP varieties can be harvested and they are preferred over the traditional white-fleshed varieties in most urban markets, schools, refugee settlements.
Tough times like the present Covid-19 pandemic require both short- and long-term interventions to curb the rise in food insecurity
and malnutrition, especially among children, adolescent girls, and pregnant and lactating women.

The OFSP is one product that needs
to be considered only in food-aid programmes for mass distribution but also commercial farming. It’s rich in vitamins that help boost immunity and hence help the body to wade off some illnesses.

Most of the districts have commercial vine multipliers that can supply vines of these improved varieties produced by the National
Agricultural Research Organisation of Uganda
and the International Potato Centre.
Joshua Okonya,