Sweet potato can contribute to both nutritional and food security in Timor-Leste

Rob Williams, F. Soares, L. Pereira, B. Belo, A. Soares, A. Setiawan, M. Browne, Harold Nesbitt, William Erskine

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    17 Citations (Scopus)


    Calorie malnutrition is chronic in Timor-Leste, where vitamin A deficiency is also common. Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L. (Lam.)) is a staple in cropping in Timor-Leste, of particular importance in the diet as household cereal stocks dwindle. This study tested if promising on-station results of introduced sweet potato clones were validated on-farm under farmer management across a wide range of agro-ecologies over the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 growing seasons using participatory varietal selection. Additionally, as the clones differed in tuberous root flesh colour we evaluated their β-carotene content and, hence, potential contribution to the alleviation of Vitamin A deficiency. In the 2006-2007 growing season three introduced clones (later released as Hohrae 1, 2 and 3) significantly out-performed the local by 29-45%, while in the next season the yields of these clones were more than double that of the local. Whereas only 29% of farmers gave positive comments about the local cultivar, 66-71% of farmers commented positively on the Hohrae clones. We assessed the β-carotene content of five introduced clones, only light orange-fleshed tuberous roots had detectable levels of β-carotene (802-1209μg 100g-1). It was concluded that 221gd-1 - slightly less than 1 cupd-1 - of Hohrae 3 with light orange fleshed roots will meet the requirement of an individual with Vitamin A deficiency in Timor-Leste. With an improved production potential combined with substantial β-carotene, the clone Hohrae 3 has the potential to contribute to both calorie and Vitamin A deficits in Timor-Leste. © 2013.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)38-43
    JournalField Crops Research
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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