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Aeroponics, IITA new technology to ensure quality seed yam production



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THE Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) in conjunction with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan has inaugurated an Aeroponics system, an effective high quality seed yam propagation technology at the National Institute of Root Crop Research Institute, Umudike in Abia recently.
Dr. Nobert Maroya, the YIIFSWA Project Leader, who described the technology as the first of its kind in the world, revealed that the technology was only used for many years for Irish potato, adding that this is the first time the technology is used for seed yam in the world, nobody tried it on yam but for three years we experimented on yam and we are delighted with the result.
Maroya said that the beauty is that what you are putting in is clean and what you harvest at the end is clean plant and that the technology could work for all yam varieties and that local varieties had already been adapted to the environment.
He also said, with the Aeroponics system , “we are cleaning the local varieties and multiplying them in the bioreactor system and we want to be sure that the first set of materials we are putting in are clean, disease-free and virus-free and that anything you are generating out of it is clean.”
The YIIFSWA Project Leader said that the innovation had solved the constraint of the country’s inability to have high quality seed yam, adding that with the technology, yam could be planted and harvested all-year round, adding that NRCRI had the capacity to feed over 10 hectares annually with clean planting material multiplication.
The Director, West Africa Research for Development Directorate of IITA, Dr. Robert Asiedu, in his speech, said the new technology would help Nigeria to achieve rapid seed yam multiplication and that it was estimated that Nigeria was losing about 30 per cent of yam produced annually through diseases and poor storage, saying that the technology would help to check the phenomenon.
Asiedu said the technology would help to break the unfortunate chain where seed yam that was contaminated would go into the plant, the tuber and storage system.
While the Director for Biotechnology and Product Development in NRCRI, Dr. Joseph Ukpabi, described the new technology as ”a win-win situation,” buttressing that with it, yam could be planted either in tubers or vines.
Ukpabi also noted that the seed yam, from the technology, is disease-free and more cost effective because it can be plant with the vines.
The Executive Director of NRCRI, Dr. Julius Okonkwo, who in his remarks, thanked IITA for its financial assistance and collaboration with the institute toward the attainment of its mandate , added that the new technology would help to dispel the impression, held in some quarters, that the institute was not capable to actualise its mandate.
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