YIIFSWA-II hosts yam field day for farmers
During the YIIFSWA-II field day held at IITA in Ibadan on 2 May, yam farmers from Oyo and Osun States in need of high quality seed yam tubers witnessed and appreciated the vine cuttings-to-tuber technology that could potentially boost seed yam production of improved varieties for commercial distribution in the coming years. This will also release more tubers for use as food.
More than 85 participants including partners, collaborators, journalists, and farmers from yam growing communities participated in the harvest of tubers grown from one-node vines cut from plants of the improved variety TDr 95/19177 growing in the aeroponics system (AS). This variety is one of the three improved varieties being promoted by YIIFSWA-II.
The vines were planted in October 2016 at IITA, Ibadan and are being harvested after 6 months of field growth. Farmers were also given the opportunity to see the source of the vines growing in the aeroponic system.
According to Norbert Maroya, YIIFSWA-II Project Leader and principal investigator of this technology, the essence of the event was to showcase the use of pre-rooted vines for seed yam tuber production. Vine cuttings from AS have proven to be quite effective for mass production of quality seed tubers of improved and released varieties in Nigeria and Ghana.
The dense canopy of yam plants derived from the temporary immersion bioreactor (TIB) and grown in AS can generate on average 300 one-node vine cuttings per plant, which is the highest propagation ratio for yam. These cuttings are pre-rooted in nursery bags under shade and nurtured for 4 weeks to develop roots and shoots before transplanting in the field. Over 12,000 rooted vines were planted during 4-26 October 2016; tubers were harvested after 6 months in the field.
Beatrice Aighewi, YIIFSWA-II seed system specialist, and Morufat Balogun, YIIFSWA-II tissue culture specialist, briefed farmers on the importance of using high quality seed yam and promoted the IITA-developed technologies to boost the production of quality seed tubers. Preparing and planting of vine cuttings was demonstrated to participants using vines from the field.
Farmers happily noted that the boost in seed production for commercial purposes is a timely intervention to reduce the production cost of yam given that farmers pay as much N2500 ($8) for 3 seed tubers during the planting season. They were overwhelmed by the novel technologies exhibited. Joseph Fajimi, a yam farmer of 30 years, said:
“This new way of producing yam is very surprising. I can’t believe it. They are growing yam from vines and without soil. If you only told me this I wouldn’t believe it. But I have seen it and I am convinced. Seeing is believing! I have to experience it in my farm.”