HarvestPlus: “NGOs Are Our Feet on the Ground”

Anna-Marie Ball and Sylvia Magezi in a farmer’s field in Uganda. (Photo: HarvestPlus)

NGOs played a crucial role in HarvestPlus’s efforts to roll out the first of the biofortified crops – the orange sweet potato (OSP) – in Uganda and Mozambique. From 2007-2009, 24,000 households in areas with vitamin A deficiency were targeted. More than 60% of farmers in the project areas adopted and began eating the vitamin A-rich OSP. As a result, vitamin A intake increased dramatically especially among children and women in both countries.

In Uganda, we partnered with two local NGOs, FADEP-EU and VEDCO, that were already established in the districts that we planned to work in. They had a strong reputation locally and were known to be able to deliver—and they did.

In Mozambique, there were few local NGOs that had sufficient expertise, or the field presence, to implement our project. So we worked with the local offices of two international NGOs, World Vision and Helen Keller International. World Vision has had a strong history of agricultural projects, and Helen Keller International had experience in promoting vitamin A.

In both countries, the national agricultural research systems had already identified varieties of OSP that were ready to disseminate to farmers. So we did not involve the NGOs at that level, but relied on them to hire local extension staff and use their established networks to identify farmer groups who could participate in the project. (Read the full blogpost on HarvestPlus.org)

Blogpost by Anna-Marie Ball, Uganda Country Manager, HarvestPlus

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