Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato as a Bio-Fortification Initiative in Bangladesh: A Case Study


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Vitamin-A deficiency is a major cause of night blindness among children. Growth hampering and lower resistance to infections are also symptoms of vitamin-A deficiency. In Bangladesh, the National vitamin-A Plus campaign has helped to reduce childhood blindness of the country. Coloured vegetables and fruits, (including orange fleshed sweet potato (OFSP)) are good sources of vitamin-A. This case study is based on the “USAID Horticulture Project CIP/AVRDC, Bangladesh” titled “Improving Incomes, Nutrition and Health in Bangladesh through Potato, Sweet potato and Vegetables”. The study was conducted to assess the value chain of OFSP as a fortified food initiative in Bangladesh. It was found that children and their parents were interested to have different types of bio-fortified products like OFSP. Parents were not much concerned about the fortification but more concerned about the nutritional improvement of their children’s health. The mothers of the community were economically benefited by growing OFSP in their garden. The study identifies different channels from producer to consumers. But there is scope to work on every step of the channels. This kind of attempt needs to start for the whole country in a holistic approach with proper value chain. Appropriate market linkage is necessary for this kind of initiative. The study figured out the scope of marketing from the rural area to the urban super market. Nutritional awareness was created among the community through the initiative. Engaging rural women in every step of value chain and introducing OFSP in urban super markets were innovative approaches of the initiative. The study also found the necessity for storage and processing infrastructure for OFSP so that the producers may have the interest to cultivate the product. A major demand of quality OFSP seed in the market was observed and there was a lack of getting fair price for the product. The initiative created some impact on value chain development, women empowerment, increasing school attendance, children’s health and nutritional awareness. It was a pilot approach but the initiative is being continued by the community. Appropriate training on production technology of the bio-fortified crops is necessary to empower the producer groups. Government should take necessary steps to make the seed available.

  • Publisher: LANSA
  • Author(s): Md. Abid Ul Kabir and Md. Sirajul Isla
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