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Research in the Philippines shows:

Root and tuber crops boost climate resilience

Research in the Philippines published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction examines how root crops – particularly sweet potato and cassava – helped vulnerable households cope with the destruction and recovery from super-typhoon Mangkhut, which tore across Luzon Island in September 2018.

Scientists conducted a survey of 423 households in the Cordillera Administrative Region, a mountainous area of northern Luzon that was severely impacted by Mangkhut, and where the root crops sweet potato, cassava and taro are widely cultivated. They found that while the typhoon’s wind and rain damaged most of the region’s rice, banana and maize, root and tuber crops fared much better with just 8% and 15% yield loss in affected sweet potato and cassava plots, respectively, compared to about 50% for maize and rice and 77% for banana.

Survey respondents reported eating more sweet potato and cassava than they would have normally, and about 50-60% reported that they planted sweet potato and cassava following the storm.

Because many sweet potato varieties are ready to harvest within 90-100 days of planting, the crop has been used to help farmers recover from extreme weather events across the tropics, such as Cyclone Idai in Mozambique in 2019.


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