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FMARD, stakeholders brainstorm on sustaining improved yam seedling

” We have come to develop strategies for sustenance of the forum to foster collaboration and synergy to share information and solve problems for better output in yam production to enhance income, livelihood and food security,” he said.

By Bukola Adewumi

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and other relevant stakeholders in the yam value chain on Thursday brainstormed on how to sustain the IITA-YIIFSWA-II project to boost income and food security in Nigeria.

Dr Perpetua Iyere-Usiahon, Desk Officer, Yam Value Chain, FMARD, said in Abuja at the 2021 Yam Stakeholders Forum Under YIIFSWA-II Project, that there was need to plan the sustainability strategy of the project.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that IITA -YIIFSWA-II which funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, would wind down by Dec. 31, after ten years of active research work.

Iyere-Usiabon, who represented the Permanent Secretary, FMARD, Mr Ernest Umakhihe, said before the advent of the new technology; farmers could only harvest seven tonnes per hectare, but with the new  seed system now in place, farmers could get as high as 25 tonnes per hectare.

She urged stakeholders to work together and ensure that the project continues for the benefit of farmers and Nigerians to enhance food security.

The Director-General of NASC, Dr Philip Ojo,  said the project had strived to develop the formal seed system of yam through research efforts of scientists, which had led to several breakthroughs.

FMARD, stakeholders brainstorm on sustaining improved yam seedling
FMARD, stakeholders brainstorm on sustaining improved yam seedling

” We have come to develop strategies for sustenance of the forum to foster collaboration and synergy to share information and solve problems for better output in yam production to enhance income, livelihood and food security,” he said.

He added that the breakthrough under the project had proffered practical technological and crop management solutions to the challenges of yam production in the country.

He said some of  the  technologies and crop management techniques that changed the narrative of yam productivity in the country included the high ratio propagation technologies such as: temporary immersion bioreactor system(TIBS) and the Aeroponics System(AS).

He listed other to include: Single node vine cutting for rapid multiplication of disease-free clean seed yams and making available quantities of quality seed yam for planting for farmers at affordable price.

He said NASC was making efforts at sustaining the gains from the project, adding that the commission was equipping its laboratory and training its staff in this direction.

He, however, complained that the new technology which was impacting positively on yam production in Nigeria and West Africa countries was still not widely known and adopted by various actors in the value chain.

He called for partnership among stakeholders to make sourcing, production, marketing and export easier and more productive by creating awareness and enable dissertation of the new technology.

Prof. Simon Irtwange, President, National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers,  said Nigeria was plagued by hunger, on account of so many reasons, including insecurity and inadequate seeds for farmers.

He said there was need to increase productivity to address the issue of hunger by increasing inputs such as seeds, but he however expressed excitement over the positive impacts of the current technology, especially on yam seed system.

“We now have high ratio propagation technologies, including the planting of vine cutting which would help us achieve maximum yield because the viruses and diseases that are associated with the yam have been removed.

” We  are happy that the seed companies have  promised  us that they have enough seed yam to be able to give to the farmers so that we’ll be able to plant and have maximum yield to take care of the teeming population that is yearning for food.

”And by so doing this  will also to provide food security for our country,” he said.

Also, Zidafamor Jimmy, Director, Seed Coordination and Management Service, NASC, said the project had impacted positively on yam production and there was need for stakeholders to brainstorm to ensure its sustainability. (NAN).