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  • Global Development
  • Department of Global Development
  • school of integrative plant science
  • Dyson School
  • Environment & Natural Resources

Perspectives in Global Development Seminar Series: Fall 2021

There is growing agreement on the urgent need to transform global and local food systems to be healthier, more affordable, and less damaging to the environment. How to get there is the challenge.  Recent work on costing diets has revealed that healthy diets are unaffordable for around 3 billion people in every region of the world. Many argue that part of the problem is the concentration of limited research resources on a staple crop enhancement, at the expense of investing in vegetable and fruit research. This talk will examine this issue and address how nutrient-enhanced biofortified staples, particularly the vitamin A sweetpotato, can contribute towards a more affordable healthier food system and what changes would be required to maximize that contribution.  

About the presenter

Jan Low is a principal scientist with the International Potato Center (CIP), based in Nairobi, Kenya. During the past decade, she managed the Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) research project and co-led the Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative (SPHI). The SPHI was a multi-partner, multi-donor initiative that reached 6.8 million African households in 15 target countries with improved varieties of sweetpotato, promoting their diversified use. Dr. Low obtained her doctorate in agricultural economics at Cornell University, minoring in nutrition.   Having worked over 25 years in sub-Saharan Africa, she has focused with her team on developing and promoting biofortified orange-fleshed sweetpotato to combat vitamin A deficiency. In 2016, along with two CIP sweetpotato breeders (Maria Andrade and Robert Mwanga) and Howarth Bouis of HarvestPlus, Dr. Low was awarded the World Food Prize for her work on biofortification.

Registration information

The speaker will present in-person in Emerson 135. Guests are welcomed to join the session in-person or via Zoom. To attend via Zoom, use the registration link below.

About the seminar series

The Perspectives in Global Development seminars are held Wednesdays from 12:25 – 1:15 p.m. eastern time during the semester. The series will be presented in a hybrid format with some speakers on campus and others appearing via Zoom. Students, faculty and the general public are welcome to attend. The series is co-sponsored by the Department of Global Development, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the School of Integrative Plant Science as part of courses IARD 6960NTRES 6960PLSCS 6960 and AEM 6960. 

Date & Time

October 13, 2021
12:25 pm - 1:15 pm

Jan Low

More information about this event.

Contact Information

Jeff Kangacha

  • jnk62 [at]


Jan Low, Principal scientist, International Potato Center


Department of Global Development

Natural Resources and the Environment

School of Integrative Plant Science

Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

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