IITA Develops New Technique to Grow Yams

Scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in collaboration with researchers from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Crop Research Institute in Ghana, have developed a new way of propagating and growing yam (Dioscorea sp.), an important root crop in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The scientists developed a technique that eliminates the use of tubers; therefore more of the crop is available for food or for sale. Vine cuttings in a carbonized rice husk growth medium are used to propagate the crop. This minimizes nematode infestations and promotes faster multiplication and better and more uniform crop quality. Carbonized rice husk could be obtained by farmers cheaply, if not for free.

Hidehiko Kikuno, IITA plant physiologist and project leader, said "Our goal is to reduce the amount of yam tubers invested as seeds so that farmers will have more food and make more money." The cost of planting materials is a major constraint in yam cultivation, with tubers used as seed taking up 30 to 50 percent of the production cost.

FAO estimates that the West Africa accounts for 97 percent of world yam production.

Read the original article at http://www.iita.org/cms/details/news_details.aspx?articleid=2113&zoneid=81


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This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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