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A guide to storage of fresh sweetpotato in sand pits or boxes: Extending fresh sweetpotato root availability in drought-prone areas after harvest

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During the dry season in the tropics, sweetpotato storage roots naturally remain dormant in the dry soil, and sprout when the rains come. This natural tendency of sweetpotato to remain dormant in dry soil has been exploited to produce planting material through the so-called “Triple-S” method: storage in sand and sprouting. From 2013 to 2015, we conducted a set of trials at the community level in Malawi and northern Ghana to develop methods of sweetpotato storage for home fresh consumption. Our most successful methods involved storage in sand in dried mud (adobe) boxes constructed in thatched huts, and storage in stepped pits to covered with a thatched roof. In Malawi, OFSP fresh storage roots could be stored for up to 6.5 months in stepped pit stores. In Ghana, storage was possible for up to 4.5 months in sand boxes.
Roots, Tubers
and Bananas
... A method of storage of sweetpotato roots in sand, known as the Double S method (Abidin et al., 2018), developed and validated for drought-prone areas in SSA, can expand root availability for rural households by 3-6 months, depending on the variety stored. However, storing roots in large quantities in appropriately designed facilities that can cure roots at high humidity and temperature, then maintain them at cooler temperatures (around 15 o C) is a greater challenge in the SSA context due to the high cost of electricity. ...
Using agriculture to improve nutrition is an approach growing in popularity, with programs becoming increasingly complex and multisectoral. While there is an active line of research assessing the impacts of such programs, little has been written about the process of successfully implementing them. As such, this paper uses a multisectoral nutrition-sensitive agriculture program implemented in four African countries as a case study to address key challenges in and lessons learned from implementation. We highlight the overall flexibility of nutrition-sensitive agriculture but also the need to adapt certain aspects to the particular context, as well as the opportunities for cross-context learning (and the limits to this). Integrating rigorous evaluation into such complex programs and forging diverse cross-sectoral partnerships offer both rewards and challenges, upon which we reflect. Main lessons learned from the program include the importance of carefully sequencing interventions, retaining flexibility in implementation, allowing for considerable time for cross-sector integration and coordination, and considering community impacts when designing research.
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