SARI introduces new technology to boost yam production

BY: Samuel Duodu
Dr Chamba (arrowed), holding a seed yam while explaining a point to Dr Nutsugah (2nd left), Dr Maroya (left) and Dr Beatrice Mghewi, a seed system specialist from the IITA
Dr Chamba (arrowed), holding a seed yam while explaining a point to Dr Nutsugah (2nd left), Dr Maroya (left) and Dr Beatrice Mghewi, a seed system specialist from the IITA

The Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (SARI-CSIR) at Nyankpala in  the Northern Region has introduced a new technology to boost yam production in the country.

The seed yam technology, known as Aeroponics System (AS), is to address the inadequate seed yam production for farmers in the country.

It was developed by SARI-CSIR, in collaboration with the Crop Research Institute (CRI) in Kumasi and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The yam improvement project is aimed at making adequate quantities of high quality improved seed yam tubers available on a commercial basis for smallholder farmers in Northern Ghana and the country as a whole.

Among the seed yam varieties developed under the project are: "Pona," "Dente" and "Muchumudu" which are preferred by yam farmers and consumed in Ghana and other parts of the West African sub-region.

Significance

While introducing the varieties at Nyankpala last Monday, the Director of CSIR- SARI, Dr Stephen K. Nutsugah, said the initiative would boost yam production in Ghana for local consumption and for export and also ensure the availability of high improved quality seed yam for smallholder farmers.

He lauded the collaboration between CSIR-SARI and its partners in coming out with the new varieties which the director said would help improve the income of farmers, ensure food security and also boost the exportation of quality yam onto the international market.

The Lead Research Scientist for the project, Dr Emmanuel B. Chamba, added that the introduction of the varieties would ensure the rapid multiplication of disease-free seed yam in a short time for farmers to plant.

He explained that the CSIR-SARI would produce the foundation seed yam and make it available for certified seed growers to multiply in commercial quantities for farmers.

Collaboration

For his part, the Project Leader for Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA), Dr Norbert G. Maroya, said the IITA would continue to collaborate with research institutions in the area of food crop production in Africa to address challenges faced by farmers in the sector.

He added that the seed yam facility established at the SARI station was a valuable asset for Ghana that would help boost yam production in the country.

"It is a new era in yam cultivation because the vine is there to generate another yam for you. There is no need to cut the tuber again to plant," he said.