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Rooting Out Hunger in Malawi

Six Women from Mwandama Village, Malawi prepare Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato.

Women in Mwandama Village in Malawi, are working together on their recently harvested crop of sweet potatoes.

Women in Mwandama Village in Malawi, are working together on their recently harvested crop of sweet potatoes. But these are no ordinary sweet potatoes. They are of a special variety, more nutritious and rich in Vitamin A, which has huge health benefits for themselves and their families.

With the help of the International Potato Centre which is funded by Irish Aid, the eleven members of this  women’s group in  Mwandama, have been introduced to this variety of sweet potato and have learnt how to cultivate it.  The women say that now “their bodies are healthier and their husbands are strong’.

Improving nutrition in this way is very important in a country like Malawi where 73% of children do not have enough Vitamin A in their diets.   As well as being nutritious, this variety of sweet potato is more drought resistant than other varieties and maize which are traditionally grown in Malawi. It also has a more flexible planting and harvesting seasons which means that there is a better supply of food all year round for the women and their families.

The women have also learnt to process the sweet potatoes to make cakes, juice, sweet beer, fritters and doughnuts which they can sell. With the income they earn they can buy clothes and send their children to school, even to secondary school.

The International Potato Centre, with support from Irish Aid, is assisting 70,000 rural households throughout Malawi to combat hunger and malnutrition by promoting sweet potato farming.

Something we can be proud of

22% There has been a 22% decrease in Vitamin deficiency in children under five years of age in Malawi in just 3 years.

13,000 The number of deaths in children under five worldwide declined from 12.4 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010, which means over 13,000 fewer children dying each day.