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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Invest in yam research and development-IITA


Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The first ever global yam conference kicked off in Accra, Ghana with a call for an increased funding for yam research and development in order to help unlock the potential of the crop and enhance food security in Africa.

Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr Nteranya Sanginga said that what is needed to unlock the crop’s full potential is the political will by sustaining and enhancing funding support for yam research and development.

Sanginga commended the government of Japan, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) for supporting IITA on yam research and called on researchers to develop a vision for the crop.

NaijaAgroNet gathered from the researchers that yam known as the ‘king of crops’ has high cultural value especially in traditional marriages in Africa and has contributed to incomes and food security, but under-researched due to low funding,

The Executive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr Yemi Akinbamijo noted that in spite of the contribution to food security and incomes, African crops such as yam have not commanded the attention they deserved, and have as a result remained underutilized.

The IITA Director for Western Africa, Dr Robert Asiedu  and the Convener of the Global Conference on Yam said that the event provided a platform for consultation and development of a global strategy for improving the yam sector based on genetic enhancement; crop protection and mitigation of risks due to pests, diseases and climate change; conservation of genetic resources; prevention of postharvest losses; improved seed systems; crop diversification; and enhancing industrial potential of yam and improved market access.

NaijaAgroNet learnt that the Global Conference on Yams provides a platform for stakeholders to explore recent innovations in yam improvement, share lessons learned, identify research and development needs, and develop global alliances.

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