Women planting orange sweet potato (OSP) on the Makira Weathercoast, Solomon Islands (Photo courtesy of ACIAR)

At HarvestPlus, we’re proud that orange sweet potato (OSP) is being eaten by women and children in Uganda and Mozambique.

But African farmers aren’t the only ones benefiting from this nutrient-rich crop—the Solomon Islands, a set of islands east of Papua New Guinea, is starting to see orange.

Australian researcher Graham Lyons from Adelaide University leads a project in the Solomon Islands that has identified high-vitamin A varieties of sweet potato that are also high yielding, pest resistant, and suitable to local growing conditions. Prior to the project, some farmers grew a small amount of OSP, but they were often unaware of the nutritional benefits of this colorful crop.

In recent years, residents of the Solomon Islands have grown increasingly dependent on processed foods, which are contributing to rising rates of diabetes, chronic heart disease, and malnutrition.

To combat this growing reliance on less nutritious, imported foods, the project focused not only on distributing OSP vines to households but also on promoting consumption of a wide range of locally grown, vitamin A-rich foods. The education campaign included food posters, community plantings, and nutrition workshops.

The nutrition messages seem to be catching on as over 2,000 residents have attended the nutrition workshops, and more farmers are growing OSP and other vitamin A-rich crops.

The future for farmers in Solomon Islands looks bright—and orange!

The project received funding from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and HarvestPlus.

Learn More

The project was featured in the ACIAR newsletter and Melanesian Geo (pdf below).

The project was featured on Australian news. Watch the video.

For more information, contact Graham Lyons.

OFSP Solomon Islands_Melanesian Geo.pdf640.8 KB