Appropriate attention should be given to value chain actors in yam the production to increase yield by 40%, deliver global quality research products and to improve farmers’ livelihoods by 2017, a scientist said on Monday.
Dr Nanam Tay Dziedzoave, Director of the Food Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana, was speaking at the end of the first session of a four-day meeting organised by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ghana, an agricultural research organisation in Accra.
He said key such as farmers, transporters, processors, marketers and researchers, played crucial roles in yam production and sustainable growth and added that proper attention that commensurate their functions needed to be given to them.
The maiden Annual Technical and Management meeting was for the Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) project in Accra.
The project focuses mainly on how Ghana and Nigeria and they can double their yam productivity and stimulate sustainable increased incomes for smallholder yam producers and contribute towards their food security and economic development.
It is also to address how post-harvest losses could be reduced and how product quality could be improved.
YIFSWA project is expected to help develop technologies for high ratio propagation of high quality breeder and foundation seed yam and to evaluate and scale up yam production technologies with improved varieties including local and popular ones.
The $12 million project, which is being funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is with the collaboration of the IITA, governments of Ghana and Nigeria, UK’s Natural Resources Institute, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and the Catholic Relief Services.
According to Dr Norbert Maroya, Project Co-ordinator for YIFSWA, , the rate of annual increase in yam production had slowed down since 2000 compared to earlier dramatic increases associated with expansion into the savannah.
He said it had been predicted that the decrease could be catastrophic if steps were not taken to reverse the situation.
More than 48% of yams are produced annually in West African on four million hectares of parcels of land.
Ghana, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Togo, account for 93% of world production of yam with Ghana and Nigeria accounting for 74% of the global production.