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

Yam productivity is negatively impacted by declining soil fertility and diseases and pests associated with intensive cropping systems. Genetic improvement can contribute significantly to addressing these challenges and seizing opportunities for expanding the markets for the commodity. However yam breeding is challenging, because of the lengthy crop cycle, poor seed multiplication ratio, poor understanding of genetic diversity, limited breeding enabling technologies that contributed to the accelerated breeding of clonal crops such as cassava and potato; and most significantly, there is limited current capacity for it in West Africa.

The project will focus on breeding white yam (Dioscorea rotundata) and water yam (D. alata) species.

The project activities over 5 years will generate outputs which will lead to the following expected outcomes:

  1. Active yam breeding programs in four countries in West Africa (Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Benin)
  2. Improved efficiency of yam breeding programs through use of faster and more precise tools and methods
  3. 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


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.


Patrick Adebola

Project duration

Start: 13 October 2014
End: 29 April 2020

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