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2016 World Food Prize goes to scientists who developed biofortified sweet potato

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A handful of scientists have spent the last 15 years convincing Africans to swap white sweet potatoes for . . . orange sweet potatoes. . . .Those scientists are receiving the world’s most prestigious prize for agricultural research, the $250,000 World Food Prize, which celebrates agricultural efforts that combat food insecurity.

This year’s award not only recognizes the “biofortification” of starchy white- and yellow-fleshed potatoes with Vitamin A by . . .Maria Andrade of Mozambique and Robert Mwanga of Uganda— but the success of a sophisticated campaign, overseen by American scientist Jan Low, to make the food both accessible and desired. . . . (The WFP also included. . . Howarth Bouis, for his general work developing biofortification practices.)

When sweet potatoes were first introduced to the African continent . . . starchy white and yellow varieties took hold in local food cultures. . . But pale sweet potatoes are significantly lower in vitamins than the damper, bright orange potatoes familiar to Americans. . . .

Meanwhile, . . . deficiency in Vitamin A is the leading cause of child blindness. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, more than one-fifth of preschool-age children have a Vitamin A deficiency. . . .

Read full, original post: World Food Prize Winners: Why Sweet Potato Color Matters

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