AfricaYam: Enhancing yam breeding for increased productivity and improved quality in West Africa

This IIT- led project involves a network of research organizations in the four main producer countries of the yam belt: the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) and the Ebonyi State University (EBSU) in Nigeria; two research institutes under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Ghana (the Crops Research Institute and the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute; le Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA), Côte d’Ivoire; and l’Université d’Abomey-Calavi (UAC), Dassa Center, Benin. Key research organizations outside the sub-region also play major roles in the project. These are the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), Guadeloupe, France; the Iwate Biotechnology Research Center (IBRC), Japan; the James Hutton Institute (JHI), UK; Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Japan; and the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (BTI), Cornell University, USA.


Increase yam productivity whilst reducing production costs and environmental impact by developing and deploying end-user preferred varieties with higher yield, greater resistance to pests and diseases and improved quality. Key objectives:
  • Breeding for high yield, good quality of tubers, resistance to diseases (anthracnose and yam mosaic virus) and nematodes
  • Establishing a breeders’ community of practice for participating countries with a focus on upgrading skills in breeding, phenotyping, and management of a breeding program, including national and international trials
  • Regional testing of promising breeder’s lines that are currently available and additional ones that will be generated during the project and identification of superior clones for pre-release trials in each country
  • Phenotyping and genotyping of bi-parental populations and genome-wide association studies for key agronomic and quality traits
  • Additional re-sequencing, sequence analysis for generation of genomic tools for genotyping populations, genome-wide association studies, and testing feasibility of genomic selection
  • Constructing and using a database for curation and integration of yam research data
  • Training and capacity building
Expected outcomes Active yam breeding programs in four countries in West Africa (Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Benin). Improved efficiency of yam breeding programs through use of faster and more precise tools and methods. Breeding methods used in national and international yam breeding programs in West Africa for sustainable development of new yam varieties that combine high and stable yield with good tuber qualities.


Adebola, Patrick Olusanmi

Project duration

Start: 14 October 2014
End: 30 April 2020

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