15/02/2017: U.S. Embassy Co-Sponsors “Culinary Diplomacy” Program

Lilongwe 15 February
The Embassy of the United States of America today partnered with United Village Transformation (UVT), an American NGO, to present a “Culinary Diplomacy” program highlighting the orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP).  The program was led by Food Network-featured American chef Claudia Sansone and her partners Kevin Gouveia and Rebecca Gouveia.  Sansone worked with four young chefs from the Malawi Institute of Tourism to prepare several dishes featuring the highly nutritious OFSP as a key ingredient, which were served at a dinner for local leaders and hospitality industry professionals hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer.
“There’s another first in Malawi: Malawi is the first country in Africa to host a “culinary diplomacy” program.  Culinary diplomacy is a wonderful way to share culture and traditions – and everyone loves to eat!  The program in Malawi is particularly special because it features orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP). OFSP are highly nutritious and drought-resistant so they can play a key role in Malawi’s crop and nutritional diversity - important for Malawian farmers and children.  I’m grateful to Chef Claudia Sansone for travelling to Malawi to help us share a little bit of America and explore the many culinary possibilities of the OFSP.  I think it’s wonderful that United Village Transformation hopes to extend a culinary diplomacy program involving American chefs showing how nutritious and delicious foods can be made with local ingredients throughout Malawi and beyond,” said U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer.
The U.S. Government's Feed the Future program in Malawi promotes increased production, marketing, and consumption of high-yielding, Vitamin A-rich orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) varieties. In partnership with the International Potato Centre (CIP) since 2014, Feed the Future partners supported 18,500 smallholder farmers to plant 800 hectares of OFSP across 10 southern and central region districts in Malawi. OFSP is not only a highly nutritious crop, but is also one that is climate resilient and can be planted as a second crop following crop failure. USAID partners under the Feed the Future and Food for Peace programs distributed about 11,000 bundles of OFSP vines to drought-affected farmers for response and recovery from the El Niño-induced drought in 2016.
To learn more about the U.S. Government’s work related to OFSP in Malawi, please visit:
To learn more about United Village Transformation, please visit: