Feed the Future Agriculture Diversification (AgDiv) Activity in Malawi

Technology-driven expansion of orange-fleshed sweet potato commercialization.

Context

Dexis worked as part of a consortium of partners fostering sustainable economic growth in Malawi through a cross-sectoral, integrated approach targeting three key crop value chains. One of these crops, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, is produced in Malawi as a staple food for farm and urban families and not as a traditional international commodity crop. Malawian families typically sell a portion of the crop in local markets and another portion in urban markets. Dexis examined how the orange-fleshed sweet potato value chain could be expanded for nutritional and market income potential and further commercialized by extending the growing season through irrigation, improved storage, and the development of processed products.

Approach

Dexis assessed the practicality of introducing drip irrigation to orange-fleshed sweet potato nurseries in Malawi as a cost-effective part of the value chain as well as the role of women in the production, home usage, nutrition, and marketing of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Dexis developed recommendations for the expansion and commercialization of the potatoes and related irrigation use issues to inform an orange-fleshed sweet potato value chain development plan.

Achievements

Through a series of assessments, Dexis provided actionable recommendations for enhanced production and expansion. The recommendations addressed irrigation, supply, storage, village use and fresh market development, processing, marketing, access to finance, and market information and messaging for education and awareness building around orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. They also encompassed cross-cutting aspects of improved livelihoods for women in the orange-fleshed sweet potato value chain. Dexis also provided recommendations for the AgDiv project’s coordination on orange-fleshed sweet potato activities with other donors in the value chain for maximum impact. The results of Dexis’ research and individual assessments informed a comprehensive orange-fleshed sweet potato value chain development plan.

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