|Research contributes to increased Yam production in West Africa|
|Friday, 09 October 2015 11:56|
The University of Ibadan’s vision is “to be a world-class institution for academic excellence geared towards meeting societal needs” and part of its mission is to contribute to the transformation of society through creativity and innovation. The research conducted at the university plays an important role in achieving its vision and mission and, given the importance of agriculture in achieving food security, research on food crops is important.
Yams are a staple in the diet of West Africans and Nigeria is the world’s largest yam producer. However the scarcity of planting material is a major constraint to yam production. A research project run by the Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology, University of Ibadan, under the auspices of the USAID-sponsored National Science Foundation / Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in research (PEER Cycle 2) project aimed to address the issue around limited availability and high cost of seed yam, yam genetic resource conservation in farmers’ hands and in public custody, and the problems of yam cultivation in a changing climate. The Project was lead by Dr. Morufat Oloruntoyin Balogun, a Geneticist and Senior Lecturer at the Department.
Climate change poses a significant risk to future crop productivity as temperatures rise, rainfall becomes more unpredictable, and patterns of disease and pest infestation change. As part of its efforts to Increase yam productivity by 40% for 200,000 smallholder yam farmers in Ghana and Nigeria, The IITA’s Gates foundation-supported project ‘Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA)', has developed novel technologies for high ratio propagation of high quality seed yam, ranging from minisetts technique, vine rooting, the Temporary Immersion Bioreactor system and the aeroponics system. The goals of YIIFSWA agree perfectly with the ideals of Yam SITIBs and the aspect of reducing the cost of the technology will make it easier to be adopted by the end-users.
Innovative technology for increased production
Plant Tissue culture techniques and Temporary Immersion Bioreactor systems (TIBs) have enhanced tremendously crop productivity in conserving and rapidly multiplying genetic resources materials round the year. In addition the techniques have addressed the challenge of developing a formal seed system for yamdue to thelimited quantity of pre-basic seed yams. The tissue culture / bioreactor technology can also enhance seed tuber quality by cleaning yam tubers of diseases which affect production.
Research Uptake amongst farmers
A Stakeholders’ Workshop on ‘Yam Seed Production using Temporary Immersion Bioreactors (Yam SITIBs)’ was held on 14th July, 2015 at the Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, under the auspices of the USAID-sponsored National Science Foundation / Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in research (PEER Cycle 2) project.
Participants at the workshop were drawn from the academia, farmers, civil society groups, ministries, international organization, media, and agencies of governments at all levels. The workshop offered an opportunity for the presentation of scholarly papers on conservation and sustainable production of seed yam within a Tissue-culture/bioreactor- based seed production system as well as practical demonstration of the methods involved.
Both male and female yam farmers have agreed that the SITIBs technology has the potential for mass production of good quality seed yams, build farmer capacity to specialize in sustainable seed yam production, generate income and therefore alleviate poverty and ensure food security. The use of temporary immersion Bioreactors in order to speed up production of clean seed yam (planting materials) is a welcome development and should be supported.
Adeola Funmilayo Oladeji is the Research Administrator in the Research Management Office University of Ibadan and a member of the DRUSSA Editorial Board
Dr. Morufat Oloruntoyin Balogun is a Geneticist, Senior Lecturer, at the Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.