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Access to lowland areas for vine conservation: a key determinant of increased utilization of orange-fleshed sweetpotato in Niassa province, Mozambique

Rakotoarisoa, Benjamin E., Francisco, Edgar A., Jaisse, Mario, Naico, Abdul, Makunde, Godwill, Andrade, Maria I., Muzhingi, Tawanda
Open Agriculture 2017 v.2 no.1 pp. 280-291
children, gardens, highlands, households, income, lowlands, planting, planting season, roots, surveys, sweet potatoes, vines, women, Mozambique
The objective of this study is to evaluate the use of lowland areas for vine conservation to improve the availability and access of planting material during the main planting period and subsequently improve access to Orange Fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) roots for consumption and income. The study was implemented in 8 districts in Niassa province in early December 2015, among 271 households (HH), where 77% of these households had children under 5 years and 34% of the respondents were women. These households were selected randomly among households that had received OFSP planting material between 2013 and 2015. Data about vine conservation, use of lowland areas, OFSP consumption and income from OFSP were collected and analyzed using SPSS. Results were compared with the baseline survey results from 2013. Eighty seven percent of households have access to lowland areas. The households using lowland areas for vine conservation increased from 41% in 2013 to 58% in 2015 and the use of small garden plots from 14% to 26%. The households conserving vines in upland fields dropped from 56% in 2013 to 7% in 2015. About 53% of households still planted in June (beyond the main planting season) while 24% continued to plant year around. However, cultivation on small plots dominated from March to December, mainly for vine multiplication. Delvia, Irene and Gloria varieties were mentioned respectively by 43 %, 21 % and 20 % of households as their preferred varieties. All households consumed OFSP roots. However, more than 50% of households consumed OFSP from April to October. Fifty six percent of households sold OFSP roots which generated an average income of 48 USD per household per year. The use of lowland areas for vine conservation has increased and vine management has improved. Consequently, production area has increased by 23%, root yield has increased by more than 100%, from 6.0 t/ ha as average national yield to 15.5 t/ha, average yield for the survey, and the period of consumption from own production has also increased to seven months. Awareness campaigns will continue to promote year round production of OFSP.