This farmer’s life changed because of potatoes … and radio

Angelina Peter Mlingwa is 26 years old and has two children. Her family is healthy, happy and well-fed thanks to one particular vegetable: orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are common in Tanzania, but farmers typically grow a dull yellow variety that lacks the beta carotene found in orange vegetables; the body turns beta carotene into vitamin A, an important vitamin for healthy families.

Radio Maria’s agricultural program is on air with support from Farm Radio International.

It shares farming techniques, but also nutritional information important to family farmers who grow what they eat. Radio Maria has also been broadcasting information on the value of growing and eating orange-fleshed sweet potato, as well as information on planting, cutting vines and recipes for cooking the vegetable.

Thanks to the advice of Radio Maria, Angelina has taken up growing the orange variety of sweet potato. She has also learned to prepare different dishes like chapatis, porridge, juice, pilau and mchanyato – all using orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Her children like mchanyato (orange-fleshed sweet potato mixed with green gram).

This has greatly improved her family’s health. Angelina used to feel dizzy, tired and was losing weight. Her health was very weak. Now, she drinks hibiscus juice and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes to fight anemia. She also feeds porridge made from orange-fleshed sweet potato to help her children gain weight.

Her eldest is now in pre-primary school and she has built her own house – all because she has started growing, eating and even selling orange-fleshed sweet potato. “Although it is thatched with grass, the important thing is, I’m living at my own house,” she said. “We thank Farm Radio for this project.”

(Story by Esther Mwangabula)

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