One of the flagship projects of the ARC on sweet potato enterprise development was funded by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. Du​ring 2014/15 cropping season, 123 sweet potato enterprises (106 sweet potato growers and 17 vine nurseries) were supported in six provinces and 543 beneficiaries were trained in sweet potato cultivation and business development. During 2017/18, peak vine dissemination was achieved as a total of 5 539 bags of vines of the ARC's sweet and dry informal market varieties were disseminated, which was enough to plant 123 ha. Training includes both specific and targeted courses for farmers. For example, specific training was given to 28 farmers from North West Province at Kgora, Vryburg and Brits and targeted training for 101 mothers at three locations in the OR Thambo district; as part of the Department of Social Development's program to reduce child malnutrition during October-November 2021. There is great potential that requires R&D investment if South Africa is to realise the full socioeconomic value of the crop to society. 

Contact: Ms Erika van den Heever and Dr Sunette Laurie.​

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  1. Hlerema IN. Studies on vine storage methods, planting technologies, paclobutrazol treatment, planting density and weevil management on sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas L. LAM) cultivars promoted in South Africa. PhD Thesis. Alice: Dept of Horticulture, University of Fort Hare, 2021.
  2. HLEREMA, I.N., TARUVINGA, B., LAURIE, S.M., NDOU, P., EIASU, B. AND DU PLOOY C.P. 2018.  Cost Effectiveness and Influence of Storage Bag Type on the Quality of Sweet Potato Vines.  Journal of Agricultural Science 10(9): 47-54.
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  12. MULABISANA, J., CLOETE, M., MABASA, K., LAURIE, S.M., OELOFSE, D. & REY, M.E.C. 2015. Genetic characterization of viruses infecting sweet potato in South Africa. Acta Horticulturae, 1105, 155-161. ISHS. DOI 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1105.22.
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    NKOSI, B.Z. 2020. Characterisation of Fusarium oxysporum species complex associated with Fusarium wilt of sweet potato in South Africa. Master of Technology Dissertation. University of South Africa. South Africa.
    NYATHI MK, DU PLOOY C P, VAN HALSEMA GE, STOMPH TJ, ANNANDALE JG, STRUIK PC. The dual-purpose use of orange-fleshed sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas var. 'Bophelo') for improved nutritional food security. Agric Water Manag. 2019; 217:23-37. DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2019.02.029
    Phahlane, C.J., Laurie, S.M., Shoko, T., Manhivi, V.E., Sivakumar D. 2021. An evaluation of phenolic compounds, carotenoids, and antioxidant properties in leaves of South Africa cultivars, Peruvian 199062.1 and USA's Beauregard. Frontiers in Nutrition 8:773550. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.773550 (Nov) (ISI 6.5)
  22. Pofu, K.M., Mashela, P.W. and Laurie S. 2020. Host-status of twenty sweet potato lines to Meloidogyne species in South Africa. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science 70(2): 135-139.
  23. Pofu, K.M., Mashela, P.W. and Laurie, S.M. 2016. Host status to Meloidogyne javanica in sweet potato cultivars: A potential threat in developmental projects. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Plant Soil Science 67(1):1-5 (Aug)
  24. Selokela LM, Laurie SM, Sivakumar D. 2021. Impact of different postharvest thermal processing on changes in antioxidant constituents, activity and nutritional compounds in sweet potato with varying flesh colour. South African Journal of Botany 144: 380-388 (Oct)
  25. Selaocoe, M.E., Adebola, P., Pillay M. and Laurie, S.M. 2019. Genetic diversity of South African sweetpotato germplasm using molecular markers. Journal of Crop Improvement 33(6):814-823. DOI: 10.1080/15427528.2019.1671930 (Oct).