Diffusion of the orange fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP) and its impact on household food security and livelihoods in Petauke district, Zambia

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Chilala, Andrew
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University of Zambia
In Zambia, many smallholder farmers achieve household food security through the production of maize ‘zea mays’. During the years of maize failure due to drought, there is need for other crops to enhance food security like Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato. Since the 2010/2011 farming season, the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato has been integrated in the farming system of the smallholder farmers of Eastern Province to help the household food security. The aim of this study was on the diffusion of the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato and its contribution to the household food security and livelihoods of the smallholder farmers in Petauke District of Eastern Province in Zambia. The specific objectives were: i, To establish the diffusion of the OFSP;ii, To assess the contributions of the OFSP to household food security in; iii, To find out the livelihoods improvement for smallholder farmer households and iv, To identify the challenges smallholder farmers face in the growing of the OFSP. A questionnaire was used to collect data from a purposively selected sample of 118Orange Fleshed Smallholder farmers. Key informants and two Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were used to triangulate data from the questionnaire. The analysis of quantitative data was done by the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 20). This helped to come up with percentages presented in statistical tables and graphs. The innovation was introduced in Petauke in 2010/2011 farming season by the International Potato Centre. In 2011/2012; 76.3% smallholder farmers adopted the crop while in 2012/2013; 6.7% additional smallholder farmers adopted and in the 2013/2014; 16.9% respondents adopted. The diffusion of the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes was through hierarchical diffusion which was expansion in nature. The pillars of food security met were food availability and access. The crop contributed to the household food security because the adopters had additional food from the OFSP. The livelihoods of the people improved because they were able to raise money to by household goods and managed to buy family goods and services. The challenges the farmers faced were the acquisition of vines for planting, diseases, pests and difficulties in preservation. The other challenge was lack or insufficient different types of capitals like physical, financial, and social. A lot of opportunities exist for the OFSP because the crop was viable as it contributed to their livelihood that they could buy farming implements and inputs for other crops like maize from the money earned after selling the harvest. Key words: innovation, diffusion, food security, orange fleshed sweet potatoes, livelihood, capital
Food security , Sweet potatoes