Towards Nutritional Security through Agroecological Practices in Orange-Fleshed Sweetpotato Systems in Mozambique
Rafaela Feola Conz1, Engil Isadora Pereira1, Maria Isabel Andrade2, Johan Six1
1Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Environmental System Science, Switzerland
The introduction of orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) varieties in Mozambique is a successful food-based strategy to reduce malnutrition in rural communities. Specifically, due to its higher beta-carotene content, the precursor of vitamin A in the human body, and micronutrients such as zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe), the consumption of OFSP enhances the nutritional value of children's diets. To sustain sweetpotato production, large amounts of soil nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) are required. Thus, continuous cultivation without soil nutrient replenishment leads to soil degradation threatening a continuing food production. This issue is very important in limited-resource areas, where the lack of soil fertility management furthers soil degradation and food insecurity. Agroecological practices (i.e., intercropping, crop rotation, and fallow) that increase the diversity of agroecosystems can boost soil fertility and agricultural performance through increased nutrient supply.
Keywords: Agroecosystems, food security, soil fertility
Contact Address: Rafaela Feola Conz, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Environmental System Science, Salvatorstrasse 4, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland, e-mail: rafaela.conzusys.ethz.ch