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The government of Ghana is currently repositioning its agricultural system to place yam exports in a strong footing for regional competition.
Already, the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) has commissioned an Aeroponic system facility to help speed up the production of quality yam seeds in the north.
Investigations showed that before the Nigerian government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development flagged off yam export, there seems to be no research blueprint upon which the production and packaging of yam for export stood on.
The scenario to a large extent backfired as the first set of yam tubers containerized for export got spoilt and was turned back on arrival in UK and America with associated huge cost on the farmers without any form of compensation from the Ministry.
Business Hilights Ghana Bureau Chief reports that the SARI facility in Ghana was designed to help to address the scarcity of yam seeds to farmers as well as the long cropping cycle and low multiplication ratio of yams.
The facility was commissioned this week in Nyankpala with support from the International Institute for Tropical Africa (IITA), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and funded under the Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA-II). In his remarks at the launch, the Director of CSIR-SARI, Dr Stephen K. Nutsugah, said the aeroponic facility was the best facility in the north with a new technology designed to produce enough improved yam seeds at both the breeder seed level and the foundation seed level.
According to him, “The improved yam seeds would boost yam production and go a long way to attract a lot of foreign exchange into the country and said the main objective of CSIR-SARI and YIIFSWA-II was to use the facility to provide foundation seed yam to commercial seed companies for the production of certified seed”.
A yam breeder at CSIR-SARI, Dr Emmanuel Chamba in a presentation said the aeroponic system facility was designed to grow plants with nutrients water in a soil-less environment used to improve the multiplication ratio of disease free seed yam in a short time.
Chamba explained that “Each yam plant produced an average of three mini tubers every four months weighing about 45 grams and said one node vine cutting could produce as many as 300 vines per plant every four months after 9 months growth of the yam plant in aeroponics”.
He said using a box of about 300 nodes per cutting with 10 boxes and 4 tables per box and 49 plants per tables, a total of 588,000 cutting could be generated from the field at one cycle of cutting.
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