Scientists to develop new roadmap for African Yam Bean
Over 40 scientists attending the African Yam Bean (AYB) symposium have agreed to develop a roadmap for the improvement of AYB in a bid to rejuvenate research and develop this neglected and underutilized food crop in Nigeria.
The symposium was organized on 18-19 October by the IITA Genetic Resources Center (GRC) in Ibadan. It brought together scientists and students working on AYB in Nigeria, to find out why the food crop has been abandoned with negligible funds dedicated to its research.
According to the researchers, this lag has made it difficult for the crop to fulfill its potential. The discussions therefore centered on avenues to build a stronger network for collaboration and a wider program for Nigeria to develop the AYB. The symposium encompassed a series of presentations, discussions, and plenary sessions in the fields of agronomy, genetics, and breeding.
Michael Abberton, Head, GRC, expressed disappointment over the lack of support for the crop. “We found out that despite the fact that the GRC receives a large number of requests for AYB seed from researchers and students in Nigeria, showing that many studies are in progress at universities, there remains a low level of funding and awareness that could support further development of the crop as an option for smallholder farmers,” Abberton disclosed.
Abberton also said the symposium will develop a roadmap for the development of the AYB. “We brought together researchers in this symposium, to think about how the crop can be utilized, and then develop a road map on how to move forward on the research of this leguminous plant, the advocacy, development, and promotion of the crop in Nigeria”.
The participants agreed to develop and publish this roadmap and also formed a consortium for research collaboration, advocacy, and resource mobilization.