Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in the air without the use of soil or aggregate medium. The roots hang suspended in the air while nutrient solution is sprayed on them in the form of a fine mist.
Seed tubers are the most crucial elements in the livelihood of yam growing communities. However, the multiplication ratio of yam is very low (1:3). Although farmers save about 30% of their yield as seed tubers, majority of the tubers are riden with pests and diseases that have accumulated in both the tubers and soils. As a result farmers experienced a decline in yield and have less tubers to sell or keep for household consumption. Farmers lack access to high quality seed tubers that are affordable and readily available.
Food security is heavily dependent on the seed security of the farming community. Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) is working to establish a formal seed system that will ensure high quality seed tubers of various varieties are readily available and affordable to farmers and stakeholders. As part of the project’s efforts towards establishing a sustainable seed yam system, novel technologies like Aeroponics (a first on yam) were developed to facilitate rapid multiplication of pre-basic seed yam.
The advantage of the aeroponics system is the generation of seed yam tubers, vines cuttings and bulbils (aerial tubers).
With the improvement on productivity and distribution of high quality seed yam, farmers productivity will increase thus ensuring the economic development and food security of millions in Africa.