The yam production system in Nigeria is experiencing a renaissance with the production of quality seed yam tubers of improved varieties using High Ratio Propagation Technologies (HRPTs), which were developed and are being promoted by the Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA-II). As seed companies gear up for full-scale production, creating the demand for quality seed tubers of improved varieties, is essential for the sustainability of the business of seed companies. Hence, seed companies that are affiliated to the project will be conducting demonstrations on ware yam production using GAP in some parts of the yam growing belt in Nigeria to promote the quality of seed tubers generated from HRPTs.
A two-day training of trainers’ workshop on quality ware yam production GAP was conducted at IITA-Abuja station on 28th and 29th March 2019. The training commenced with a welcome remark from Dr. Beatrice Aighewi, YIIFSWA-II Seed System Specialist, who presented the project and its goals. She stated that “ the project is aimed to ensure that farmers have access to quality seed yam tubers of improved varieties at affordable prices”.
In his opening speech, Dr Gbassey Tarawali, the IITA-Abuja representative welcomed the participants to IITA-Abuja and noted that the station was becoming a center of excellence for new research and agribusiness development. He implored the participants to be attentive and engage with the trainers during the workshop because the utilization of improved yam varieties goes hand in hand with GAP. He said that “the promotion of improved yam varieties without GAP will result in farmers not getting the desired yield.”
The training was conducted in two sessions. During the theoretical session, participants listened to presentations on GAP for optimal ware yam productivity, post-harvest handling and storage of ware yam, phyto-sanitation for quality ware yams, post-harvest handling and storage of ware yam, tools for data collection and protocol for establishing of demo plots. The second session involved hands-on training on ware yam production beginning with seed tuber selection, seed preparation, land preparation, planting, staking, fertilizer application and weed control. During this session, each company was given a 10 m x 1 m plot to prepare and plant as per training received.
Participants were provided with training materials to use in training farmers in their respective areas of coverage before the demo plots are set up. Dr Aighewi implored the participant to plan and conduct their activities with profit in mind, since their companies are business ventures.