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30.03.2009 Press Release

Ireland lauds IITAs new yam growing technique

By Godwin Atser
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The Irish government has commended Nigeria-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, for the success of its new yam propagation technique that uses vine cuttings instead of the traditional tuber seeds.

Irish Minister for Integration, Mr. Conor Lenihan, said the technology would help in increasing the yield of yams and, consequently, farmers incomes.

The work on yams is worthy and we hope it will improve livelihoods in Africa, Lenihan said during a courtesy call to IITAs headquarters in Ibadan on Saturday.

Last month, IITA and its partners announced the yam propagation breakthrough.

Lenihan said Irelands continuing support to IITA over the years was aimed at guaranteeing food security in Africa.

Last year, the Irish government, through its Irish Aid programme, provided some 640,000 in research funding to IITA to help advance the institutes work of providing solutions to hunger and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The funding was part of a bigger 4.4 million package to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, which is a central component of Irish Aids response to the growing global food crisis.

IITA Director, Dr. Robert Asiedu, said the technology would reduce the amount of yam tubers used as seed in the cultivation of the crop, making them available either for consumption or for sale.

We have seen that yam tuber seeds alone account for about 50 per cent of the cost of production of yams. Planting a hectare costs about US$2000 in seeds. If farmers are able to use the vines, then they will save this amount, he explained.

Besides the cost-saving ability of the new technique, Asiedu said the technique had a high multiplication rate and could reduce the transmission of nematodesa major pest associated with yams.

It is a solution and a quick way for us in meeting high demands of new yam varieties from our partners, he added.

Asiedu expressed optimism that the technology would be adopted by farmers, emphasizing that the materials used in the research could easily be sourced in rural communities.

In the laboratory, we used chemicals for this research, but to make it easily adopted by farmers, we are using carbonized rice husks as a growth medium for the vine, which, he adds, could be obtained cheaply or even for free.

For more information, please contact:
Jeffrey T. Oliver, [email protected]
Corporate Communications Manager
Godwin Atser, [email protected]
Corporate Communications Officer
IITA - Headquarters
Ibadan, Nigeria

About IITA
Africa has complex problems that plague agriculture and people's lives. We develop agricultural solutions with our partners to tackle hunger and poverty. Our award winning research for development (R4D) is based on focused, authoritative thinking anchored on the development needs of sub-Saharan Africa. We work with partners in Africa and beyond to reduce producer and consumer risks, enhance crop quality and productivity, and generate wealth from agriculture. IITA is an international non-profit R4D organization since 1967, governed by a Board of Trustees, and supported primarily by the CGIAR.

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