Visiting Scientist discusses transfer of technologies on yam breeding between IITA and Jamaican Institution
Ryan Francis, Head of Biotechnology Department, Product Research and Development Division of the Scientific Research Council (SRC), Jamaica, is on a visit to IITA. He is visiting from 15 to 27 July and is exploring opportunities for partnership and transfer of technologies across institutions.
Francis is representing SRC in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Europe. At the introductory meeting, he said, “This is a scientific visit that aims to engage IITA’s expertise on crop breeding and improvement, as well as transfer of technologies across institutions, primarily on improving yam breeding in Jamaica, making it resistant to yam anthracnose.”
Of the 21 varieties of yam in Jamaica, Dioscorea Alata (sweet yam) is preferred. However, its availability is limited because of yam anthracnose disease, which causes up to 95% loss. Francis emphasized the need for increased productivity to ensure an adequate supply of sweet yam within the country and even facilitate export.
There is an ongoing collaboration between SRC and IAEA on improving various crops of economic importance, particularly ginger and D. Alata. SRC has various projects on crop development and provides clean planting materials to farmers. “As breeders, we are taking responsibility for crop cultivation, primarily crops of economic importance. We maintain a gene bank with 200 different types of crops including yam, banana, and cassava industry crops to ensure food security,” said Francis.
Francis is meeting with various IITA scientists working on yam breeding and improvement projects. At the end of his visit, he hopes to have established links and collaborations that will aid the transfer of technologies between IITA and SRC-Jamaica.