Biotech Updates

Global Initiative to Preserve Yam Biodiversity

September 24, 2010

The first worldwide effort to save the diversity of the yam is underway. Yam is consumed by 60 million people on a daily basis in Africa alone. Through funding support from the United Nations Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, about 3,000 yam samples are targeted to be collected worldwide and will be sent to the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria.

"This opportunity to protect an incredibly wide variety of yams allows us to feel more reassured that the unique diversity of yam will be safely secured and available to future generations," said Alexandre Dansi, a yam expert at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin.

The yam project is part of a bigger effort involving major crop species which The Global Crop Diversity Trust is assisting. The Trust is helping partners in 68 countries to rescue and regenerate more than 80,000 endangered accessions in crop collections.

View IITA's press release at