sasha logoThe Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) is a 5-year initiative designed to improve the food security and livelihoods of poor families in Sub-Saharan Africa by exploiting the untapped potential of sweetpotato.
It will develop the essential capacities, products, and methods to reposition sweetpotato in food economies of Sub-Saharan African countries to alleviate poverty and undernutrition, particularly among poor women and children.
SASHA is a project of the International Potato Center (CIP). As part of the broader, 10-year, multi-donor Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative, the SASHA project is expected to set the groundwork for improving the lives of 10 million Sub-Saharan households in 10 years.
IPBO is a subcontracter to CIP for the project “Development and Safety Assessment of Weevil Resistant Sweetpotato Varieties in Africa”



The research program “Weevil resistant sweetpotato (WRSP) through biotechnology” is a component of the project “Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa”, commonly known as SASHA, a five year project designed to improve the food security and health of poor families in Sub-Saharan Africa by exploiting the untapped potential of sweetpotato. The aim of the research program is to ‘feed the people and not the weevils’ by combining conventional breeding and biotechnology to prevent the damages caused by weevils to sweetpotato.

Sweetpotato 1

Sweetpotato 2

IPBO contributions

  • Annual postgraduate course on Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology
  • 2012 summer course Modern Breeding techniques for the improvement of Sweet Potato
  • RNAi for protection of sweet potato to weevils
    Sweet potato is an important staple crop and carbohydrate and micronutriensasha weevilst source in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly grown by low income farmers and women. Weevils can destroy up to 60-100% of the sweetpotato crop production. Current pest controlling methods are unsuccessful, too costly or too labor intensive for small-scale farmers. As extensive breeding practices have failed to develop weevil-resistant sweetpotato varieties the aim of the research project is to use biotechnology and more specifically RNAi based genetic engineering in combination with conventional breeding to generate weevil-resistant potatoes.

    Collaboration with Prof. G. Smagghe (UGent) and Dr. M. Ghislain (CIP, Nairobi)

    For more information, contact Prof. Dr. Godelieve Gheysen and/or Dr. Ine Pertry