Video by Jesse Winter
Women farmers face many challenges. Often, they grow different crops or use different techniques than male farmers. This means they need to hear different advice on farm radio programs.
Our project promoting orange-fleshed sweet potato in Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Burkina Faso is just one project meeting the information needs of women farmers in particular.
Many women grow sweet potato across Africa. However, the orange-fleshed variety is rich in vitamin A, an important vitamin for pregnant women, new mothers and children. Fafaa FM, which broadcasts in the Volta Region of Ghana, has been sharing information about growing, harvesting, cooking and selling orange-fleshed sweet potato.
Watch the video to hear from two women in Ghana who have been impacted by this project.
Kate Danyo is a farmer from Dzodze in Volta Region, Ghana. She is now selling orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) in the market.
“Before OFSP I farmed cassava, maize and yellow sweet potato. Through the radio programs I learned that OFSP is good for pregnant women, for children and in fact is helps a lot in terms of healthiness. The radio also told us we should sell in the market. People in the market have been asking if this is the potato that Fafaa FM has been talking about. And we say yes, it is.”
Doris Zawor is another women farmer who has been listening to the program on Fafaa FM. She learned about cooking with OFSP and how has a successful OFSP bakery business.
“I learned how to use OFSP to make Bofrot, chips, and how to use the leaves for tea and stew. Before the cooking show, the local agricultural extension office also showed us how to use some OFSP to prepare food. I think it’s very good for people. Since I’ve started using OFSP to make bread, many people are buying it.”
Vitamin A deficiency is a widespread health challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. Vitamin A is needed to fight infections, for growth, bone development, and overall improved health. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, and compared to other crops require fewer inputs and less labour, making it a popular crop for women farmers. It is also the perfect vegetable for farming families to add to their diet.
The “Reducing vitamin a deficiency with orange-fleshed sweet potato” project is part of Her Farm Radio initiative. The project aims to add OFSP, a crop largely grown and controlled by women, to at least 500,000 household diets and to improve knowledge, skills, and commitment to OFSP production and its benefits. It is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.