Maria Isabel Andrade

Co-recipient of the 2016 World Food Prize

Maria Isabel Andrade, a co-recipient of the 2016 World Food Prize, has 30 years of working experience in Africa. Her research interests include technology transfer, breeding seed systems and the amelioration of value chains for income-generation, facilitating knowledge sharing and constructing communications platforms to heighten the visibility and impact of sweetpotato in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce Vitamin A deficiency and improve markets and crop production. She has released 30 bio-fortified sweetpotato varieties of which 20 are drought tolerant. These drought tolerant varieties have reached a million farmers who have adopted them and are making profits selling the roots and vines and processed products. Over the last 15-20 years, crop research and the development of the seed systems has resulted in the increase of the yield, from about 5-6 tons per hectare in 2003 to almost 14 tons in 2016 (FAOSTAT, 2016) and 23% of all sweetpotato grown in Mozambique is bio-fortified. In recognition of the significant contribution OFSP can make to food security and nutrition, Government of Mozambique has included Orange Fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) in their country investment plan. Also, In the nutrition sector, OFSP has been adopted as a mainstream technology for combating vitamin A deficiency by the Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition in Mozambique (SETSAN) and in the country’s strategy in the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement.

Today, Maria serves as CIP’s country manager in Mozambique, Sweetpotato breeder for Southern Africa & Asia, over and above her scientific leadership role. Maria served as the vice president for fund raising for the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC) global for five years. She is a Member of External Panel review of Next Generation Cassava Breeding Project, project of Cornell & IITA. She is also member of the high-level group of champions for the Food Forever Initiative-Global Crop Diversity Trust. Key recognitions for her sweetpotato breeding work include: Appreciation award from ISTRC-AB for her outstanding leadership & contribution on RTC in Africa, outstanding Alumnus award from NCSU, 2016 World Food Prize co-laureate and 2017 Swaminathan Award for Environmental Protection. Also, she was nominated as one of the 5th Wonder Women of Agriculture by USDA, Mar 27, 2018, and the 2018 Woman of the Year in her own country, Cape Verde in July 7th, 2018.