The Yam Improvement for Incomes and Food Security in West Africa project (YIIFSWA II) was initiated in 2017 in collaboration with CSIR-CRI and IITA. The project seeks to increase yam production by 30% in Ghana and Nigeria by establishing a robust seed yam system in both countries that uses a market based, integrated approach to deliver clean and quality seed yam of improved varieties to at least 320,000 smallholder farmers for long-term benefits. Also, it is estimated that 7,700 Seed Enterprises will supply approximately 247,000 hectares of ware yam in six (6) states of Nigeria and two (2) regions of Ghana by the end of the project.
The project has seen tremendous achievements benefiting the Private sector. The Institute has established a functional seed yam system to ensure continuous supply of clean planting materials to seed producing companies and farmers. The novel technologies by which quality planting materials are produced are Aeroponics, Hydroponics, Temporary Immersion Bioreactor and Plant Form systems, which are at the Biotechnology section. The Institute is in close contact with the Private sector providing training, technical backstopping and supplying clean materials to them to ensure adherence to quality standards and increased production. This year, about 6,342 seedlings have been supplied. The beneficiaries are Iribov Ghana, Fosua Food Chain, Hikma Agro and CSIR-SARI. There has also been advocacy and awareness activities with partners such as CIDA, MAG, FAO, AGRA and FARA to raise funding for upscaling of Seed Yam production.
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture of Nigeria, to know the progress and achievements of the project paid a monitoring visit to the institute. The seven-member team led by Dr. Norbert Maroya and Dr. Beatrice Aighewi visited the Institute on the 25th of September 2020. In attendance was the Director of the Institute, Prof. Moses B. Mochiah and YIIFSWA team of CRI. Among the sections visited were the Molecular biology and Tissue culture labs, screen house and the field. At the end of the programme, the team commended CRI for the great work done especially in the area of collaboration and empowerment of the sister institute (CSIE-SARI) and Private sector to ensure sustainability of the project when it is finally phased out. The major challenge the project faces is the unavailability of seed yam storage technologies, and quality of water for the Aeroponics system, which in future scientists working in that field of expertise will be contacted.