Video and photo by Jesse Winter
Orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) is rich in beta-carotene, which the body turns into vitamin A. Its leaves also contain other valuable vitamins. Many families in Ghana and other African countries eat sweet potatoes, but white or yellow ones.
While OFSP is more nutritious than other varieties, many farming families are turned off by its unusual bright orange colour. Radio shows on cooking OFSP have introduced many of these farmers to new recipes that are encouraging them to start eating — and growing — it.
Watch the video to meet Princess Francisca, a farmer and cook from Devego, in the Volta Region of Ghana, who now cooks with OFSP thanks to the radio. She learned about OFSP on Fafaa FM and took part in a radio show that taught her how to cook with it.
When you have the potato you can process it with so many things. So I’ve tried using it for drink, I use it to make sweet bread, I use it to pound fufu, I use it to make stew. […] Sometimes when I am pounding fufu, I add the potato to the cassava and I pound it and it brings some colour too, it’s very nice.
Cooking shows bring communities together to share skills and recipes. The radio station shares these events with those farming families living farther afield so that thousands of families can learn new ways to cook with nutritious OFSP.
The Reducing vitamin A deficiency with orange-fleshed sweet potato project is promoting nutritious OFSP across Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Burkina Faso, and Mali, including how to plant, grow, market, and cook with it. The project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented in partnership with Helen Keller International, the International Potato Centre, and Sweet Potato Action for Security and Health in Africa.