To reduce the spread of COVID-19, governments all over the world have instituted specific measures such as physical distancing and staying at home. Unfortunately, for farmers, time is of the essence since the rainy season is here and it will soon end, – whether we are facing a pandemic or not. For farmers, the rains mean they must be in their fields planting or else they will miss the season. We talked to Dr Norbert Maroya, the Project Leader of the Yam Improvement for Incomes and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) about yam farming in Nigeria and Ghana, where the project currently operates.
Maroya says IITA-CGIAR has been in contact with public and private partners over the phone, advising them how to ensure continuity even with the pandemic. “We advised our partners to work in shifts —always have at least one person who can stay on-site for two-three days and take care of the plants in aeroponics, hydroponics and nurseries. If the yam plants in screen houses are not regularly watered, they will die.”