White House harvests Sweet Potato to promote Vitamin A crops

The United States is determined to promote food crops that are rich in Vitamin A in Africa after the White House kitchen garden included orange sweet potato (OSP) for the first time.

Sweet potato, which is a root vegetable rich in vitamin A and is becoming popular in Africa, was chosen to highlight its role in improving the nutrition and health of millions of children and women throughout sub-Saharan Africa by providing essential vitamin A.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) reckons that Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a major public health problem in many countries as it impairs immunity, increases the risk of illnesses such as diarrheal disease, and causes eye damage that can lead to blindness and even death.

Annually, up to 500,000 preschool children go blind from VAD, and about two-thirds will die within months of going blind. In Africa, VAD prevalence is estimated at 42 per cent among children under five.

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