IITA : Scientists gather to compare notes on status of genetic improvement of yam in Africa
20 March 2017. This week, progress on research efforts geared towards the improvement of the genetic potential and productivity of two most cultivated yam species in Africa will be the focus of the deliberations of scientists convening for the annual meeting of the AfricaYam project at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan.
The meetings, which will take place during 20-24 March, will also provide a platform for stakeholders to review the current standing of the project in relation to project goals. AfricaYam was initiated in 2015 to use the latest technologies in plant breeding to develop high-yielding varieties of white yam (Dioscorea rotundata) and water yam (D. alata) that will show great promise in resisting infestation by nematodes, viruses, and anthracnose, known to greatly limit productivity in West Africa’s most preferred staple crop.
Every year, sub-Saharan Africa produces no less than 54 million tons of yams from about 4.6 million hectares of land. But this output is only 40% compared with cassava production in the continent. Farmers are unable to cope with the demand for the crop which is further constrained by low yield and losses in storage.