Orange sweetpotato has been used as a source of betacarotene in different countries and more recently, in Brazil. Brazilians are used to consume sweetpotato roots with white flesh, purple or white skin and high dry matter content. The initial introduction of cultivars with traits different from the usual, showed to be a challenge in some Brazilian regions. This work will present the efforts required to identify alternatives to introduce the consumption of orange flesh sweetpotatoes on the Brazilian diet. The work started in 2008 and included initiatives on food processing, to enable better acceptance by consumers. Additionally, it also included the development of new cultivars that met the minimum growers’ agronomic requirements and also good nutritional characteristics. These efforts included experiments in different municipalities to assure the stability of the sweetpotato genotype selected. In 2021 a new sweetpotato genotype was released and promise to collaborate even more with the expansion of the biofortification program in the country. This initiative was only successful due to the development of a very broad and committed network that included producers, consumers, public and private companies and universities.
I am an agronomist with a PhD in plant pathology from Oklahoma State University. After four years on the private sector working with maize breeding, I joined the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) to work with sweetpotatoes. Along these years I´ve been developing alternatives to improve the acceptance of orange flesh sweetpotatoes in the country and identifying key issues on sweetpotato production in Brazil.