IOM, in partnership with the Rural Education and Agriculture Development Organization (READO), a local NGO, is introducing a drought resistant variant of sweet potatoes which will help mitigate the impact of drought in Somalia. The latest drought period has left over 6.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
The project mainly targets internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the host community in Baidoa, who will be trained on how to grow the potatoes, before being issued with a set of vines that they can use on their own farms. This sweet potato variant, commonly referred to as the orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP), is suitable for growth in regions with minimal rainfall.
Additionally, the OFSP is nutrient rich in Vitamin A and will help boost nutrition among malnourished children and within IDP households. OFSP’s other benefits include increasing milk production among breast feeding mothers, OFSP flour to make baked products, and the plant’s edible leaves that can be consumed as vegetables and serve as fodder for livestock.
“The introduction of OFSP in Baidoa will be of great value to the community as it will help to improve the livelihood of IDPs. We urge other international organizations and local partners to support the initiative, as this will help in mitigating drought issues in Somalia,” said Abdullahi Abdirahman Ali, READO Executive Director.
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