Influential yam producer visits YIIFSWA-II for mass propagation of seed yam
The Chief Executive Officer of Napetsa Farms, Joseph Adewale Fosudo, has been growing yam for decades in Epe, Lagos, and in northern Nigeria. The yam producer, considered a top commercial farmer, visited CGIAR-IITA on 4 August to learn about using single-vine seedlings from high ratio propagation technologies (HRPTs) for seed yam tuber production.
“I came because I am particularly interested in using vine seedlings derived from technologies like the aeroponics system (AS) for seed yam tuber production. I supply yam to well-known food outlets in Nigeria and major processors who export frozen yam chips and cubes to the west for consumption by Africans in diaspora. Demand for yam is growing, but the availability of inputs like seed yam is not keeping up with demand. But IITA, like in the past—for many other situations—has a solution. That is why I am here,” Fosudo said.
YIIFSWA-II Project Leader Norbert Maroya received him and took him around the campus to showcase HRPTs. They visited the aeroponics and the hydroponics systems (HS), and the single-node vine cuttings nursery to see how yam seedlings are produced using the novel technologies. Fosudo saw how vines cut from the aeroponics system are propagated in a nursery screen house before being transplanted to the field. On the field, he saw AS-derived vine seedlings growing under rain-fed conditions thriving in dense populations (up to 100,000 plants/ha).
“This entire exercise of going through the production facilities in screen houses, and on the field, showing how one can generate many nodes in one plant to multiply seed for farmers and direct cropping, was astounding. Also, the density of the plant population in the field is very impressive. And this is why I think your slogan about making people rich quickly (yams for livelihoods) is true because I have seen, practically, that it is possible to have a few hectares and produce huge amounts,” Fosudo said.
“I used to be worried about African agriculture. Researchers do a lot of work, developing technologies and best practices only to keep them on the shelves. Both government and farmers allow research results to remain on the shelves. We need to find a systematic way of relating with research organizations like IITA so that this mission to produce for Africa, Africa feeding Africans, and maintaining strategic food reserves would be a reality,” he continued.
Speaking on the yam industry, he said, “Yam is green gold waiting for exploitation. So much can be derived from it if we put resources towards the development of the sector. Look at your improved variety Kpamyo, “the wealth-making yam”; it is already making waves in the market. There are so many varieties that need to be assessed for value addition. The variety that I supply to a well-known food outlet is a water yam that tastes like potato but is filling like yam. Let us make yams do for Africa what potatoes are doing for western countries.”
At the end of his visit, Fosudo received 500 single-node vine seedlings to be used to kick- start his seed production. He indicated that he was going to replicate what was on the field to optimize its use.