Scientists in the field of agriculture have expressed their support for the application of high- ratio propagation technologies like aeroponics to make yam seeds available at competitive prices and to address the constraints on yam seed quality and multiplication.
Scientists involved, have said the aim is to proliferate aeroponic technology through interested private seed companies that have existing structures for the propagation and multiplication of seeds and seedlings so as to reach as many farmers as possible.
High production costs are attributed to the use of tubers as seeds; most of tubers are low quality, containing pests and pathogens that decrease the yield of yam tubers. Tubers contribute to about 30 percent of the total yield incurred per season of cultivation.
The Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) project of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in Ibadan notes:
“Globally, Africa’s contribution to supplies of grains is modest: maize, about 5%; rice, 3%; and wheat, 3% in the late 2000s (FAOSTAT 2013). But Africa is the lead player in the supplies of cassava with 50% of world production and yam with 95%.
“Africa’s two predominantly world food crops, yam and cassava, are produced at a high cost because of low technologies”.
According to Robert Asiedu, IITA’s former director for West Africa,“The unavailability and high cost of high quality seed yam is the primary constraint in West Africa with the food security of millions of people heavily dependent on the availability and affordability of seed tubers.”
Tope Faleye, an engineer with the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), in Ilorin, Kwara State, explained that another technology, the Yam Mound Maker, was fabricated by NCAM as a tractor-mounted implement to reduce the drudgery associated with yam cultivation and the time taken to create heaps.