Yam research gets $1million boost

By Godwin Atser

IITA-Ibadan, Nigeria Research on yam improvement in West and Central Africa (WCA) involving Cameroon, Benin, C te d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo has receivedabout US$1million(about 750,000)lifeline, thanks to theEuropean Union-African, Caribbean and PacificScience and Technology Program (EU-ACP).

The support is coming amid global reawakening on the importance of yam as a food security crop in Africa The research project tagged, Strengthening Capacity for Yam Research-for-development in Central and Western Africa (SCYReC) aims to improve the capacity for yam research-for-development in the region.

Specifically, it will help in finding sustainable solutions, through science and technology, to the challenges facing the crop and exploit its tremendous potential for food security and poverty alleviation.

Africa s leading research
partner, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture will manage and implement the project in collaboration with a team of national partners in 13 research institutions in the six countries including the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike.

This is something
good for the region where yam plays an important role in nutrition and economic well-being of the people, says David Annang, IITA-SCYReC Project Coordinator.

We are hopeful that the project will tackle the many challenges facing increased yam production, he adds.

Despite its contribution to food security, yam faces a plethora of limitations among which are high costs of planting material and of labor, decreasing soil fertility, inadequate yield potential of varieties, as well as the increasing levels of field and storage pests and diseases associated with intensification of cultivation.

The labor requirements in yam cultivation for mounding, staking, especially in the forest zone, weeding, and harvesting exceed those for other starchy staples such as cassava. These account for about 40% of yam production costs while 50% of the expenditure goes to planting materials. The seed yams are also perishable and bulky to transport. If farmers do not buy new seed yams, they must set aside up to 30% of their harvest for planting the next year.

The EU-ACP-funded project, therefore, seeks to tackle these challenges by helping in the development of a framework for yam research-for-development in WCA. It will also build and increase the capacities of partners, and provide a platform for increased documentation and dissemination of information from yam research and development. ### For more information, please contact:

David Annang, [email protected]
Project Coordinator, IITA-SCYReC
Jeffrey T. Oliver, [email protected]
Corporate Communications Officer (International) Godwin Atser, [email protected] Corporate Communications Officer (West Africa) Communication Office IITA - Headquarters Ibadan, Nigeria


About IITA
Africahas complex problems that plague agriculture and people's lives. We develop agricultural solutions with our partners to tackle hunger and poverty. Our award winning research for development (R4D) is based on focused, authoritative thinking anchored on the development needs of sub-Saharan Africa. We work with partners in Africa and beyond to reduce producer and consumer risks, enhance crop quality and productivity, and generate wealth from agriculture.

IITA is an international non-profit R4D organization since 1967, governed by a Board of Trustees, and supported primarily by the CGIAR.