Bio-fortified crops have been identified as an effective approach to mitigate micro-nutrient deficiency which currently affects more than half of the global population mostly in low income countries. In Zambia, Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) is one of the most common micro-nutrient deficiencies and remains a major concern affecting mostly children and women in rural households. These households are primarily small holders who entirely rely on their own farm production for food provisions. Thus, for bio fortification to have significant effect on reducing VAD, these vulnerable households need to adopt the technology. However, in Africa, evidence on the adoption of bio-fortified crops has been mixed. Studies done in project areas using cross sectional data have highlighted relatively high adoption rates of bio-fortified crops, while studies that have used nationally representative cross sectional data have shown high adoption rates for some bio-fortified crops while very low rates for others.
Using a three-wave nationally representative panel dataset (covering the 2010/11, 2013/14, and 2017/18 agricultural seasons), this study sought to shed more light on the adoption of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP) in Zambia. OFSP is one of the bio-fortified crops that was developed to mitigate VAD and was promoted in Eastern Province of Zambia. The key question addressed in the study is: what is the adoption, dis-adoption and non-adoption rate of OFSP among sweet potato-producing households in Zambia? Adoption of OFSP in this study is defined as farmers growing orange fleshed sweet potatoes as a percentage of farmers growing any type of sweet potato (i.e., white/yellow/orange fleshed sweet potatoes) in a given survey year. Dis-adoption is defined as the percentage of sweet potato growing farmers who were growing OFSP in the previous survey year but had discontinued growing them in a given survey year, and non-adoption is defined as the percentage of sweet potato growing farmers who had not grown OFSP in the survey year and previously.