One of the flagship projects of the ARC on sweet potato enterprise development was funded by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. During 2014/15 cropping season, 123 sweet potato enterprises (106 sweet potato growers and 17 vine nurseries) were supported in six provinces and 543 beneficiaries were trained in sweet potato cultivation and business development. During 2017/18, peak vine dissemination was achieved as a total of 5 539 bags of vines of the ARC's sweet and dry informal market varieties were disseminated, which was enough to plant 123 ha. Training includes both specific and targeted courses for farmers. For example, specific training was given to 28 farmers from North West Province at Kgora, Vryburg and Brits and targeted training for 101 mothers at three locations in the OR Thambo district; as part of the Department of Social Development's program to reduce child malnutrition during October-November 2021. There is great potential that requires R&D investment if South Africa is to realise the full socioeconomic value of the crop to society.
Contact: Ms Erika van den Heever and Dr Sunette Laurie.