One of the ways to increase yam production in West Africa is using improved varieties. In 2020, IITA GoSeed Ltd., a subsidiary of the Business Incubation Platform (BIP) of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), conducted field trials to determine the potential yield of two improved varieties, namely Kpamyo and Asiedu, in comparison to one popular local variety, Danacha.
Dr. Mercy Diebiru-Ojo, IITA GoSeed Vegetative Seed Production Expert, stated that “the purpose of the trial was to determine the potential yield of the improved varieties. When we market our products, farmers want to know what they can get from it, so we needed to verify the potential of the improved varieties to market them to farmers confidently.”
In March 2020, Mr. Paul Ajayi cultivated whole seed tubers of 400 to 500g in mounds on a fallowed land to maximize production for full expression of the varieties’ potentials. Ten months after planting, the tubers were harvested, and the improved variety displayed their superiority in weight and size compared to the popular local variety.
According to Dr. Diebiru-Ojo, the results were not surprising. Still, they exceeded expectations. “We knew that the improved varieties were high yielding and that they would outperform the local variety, but they did exceed our expectation in the total tonnage amassed from the small plot of land that we planted,” she said.
The highest production was Kpamyo with 73 t/ha, followed by Asiedu with 51 t/ha and Danacha with 31 t/ha. The largest tuber harvested weighed about 14 kg.
Information on the performance of the varieties was shared with YIIFSWA-II management. According to the Tissue Culture Specialist of the project, Dr. Morufat Balogun, “the performance was a testament to the quality seed tubers produced by the project.” She said, “it is gratifying when such news reaches our ears. It showcased what farmers can harvest when they use clean and healthy seed tubers of improved varieties. The seed tubers sown were generated by the employment of YIIFSWA-II’s novel technologies for quality seed yam production, and we are working with IITA GoSeed to ensure that farmers have access to such seed tubers.”
According to YIIFSWA-II’s project management, GoSeed will be working extensively with the project to adopt the technologies for early generation seed yam production as it includes yam in its products portfolio.