- Nigeria’ll Become Leader in Yam Production —IITA
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan said Nigeria will soon become one of the leading yam producing countries with the current breakthrough recorded by the research institute, expected to help farmers achieve mass production.
A yam seed system specialist at the IITA, Abuja, Dr. Beatrice Aighewi, said in Ibadan that the project was aimed at ensuring food security in the country, adding that it was targeted at helping farmers earn significant share of the global foreign currency accruing from yam exportation.
The new yam seedling technology involves the production of improved and healthy tubers from yam vines (stem). IITA is also partnering several harvest seed companies for mass production of the new seedling, targeting 600 million pieces for farmers.
According to Aighewi, “The aeroponic system is used to produce clean yam. It’s like growing yam in the air. What we plant is yam vine popularly called stem to produce tubers for farmers to plant. We want seed companies to use this technology to produce seedling for farmers in large quantity. The advantage is that instead of losing a lot of tubers during planting, farmers can approach seed companies and get a bag of seedling to plant on a vast land.
“We already have some seed companies that we are training to reproduce this new seed technology. We have installed the system in Ibadan and Abuja and we are going round the nation, targeting more yam belt. We cannot reach all farmers but we can do so through the companies we are working with. We will also demonstrate to farmers so that they can spot the difference between their traditional yam planting system and the new system.
“In the end, millions of Nigerian yam farmers will benefit. Harvesting period will depend on climatic condition but after five months, farmers can start harvesting. This will translate to food security and improved earning on exportation. In Nigeria, we have a huge advantage when it comes to exporting and becoming a major yam producing country.”
The Managing Director of Context Global Development, Mark Nelson, said the company was delighted with the breakthrough, adding that it was committed to building business modules for seed companies.
The company, he added, was working with the IITA to achieve successful multiplication of the new technology.