YIIFSWA-II hosts 3rd Annual progress review and planning meeting in Accra
20 April 2019
IITA, lead implementer of the Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa Phase Two (YIIFSWA-II), organized and hosted the project’s third annual review and planning meeting from 25 to 28 February in Accra, Ghana.
The objective of the meeting was to review and discuss the project’s achievements of the previous implementation year as well as plan activities and the budget for 2019.
The welcome remarks were made by the representative of the Ghanaian Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Felicia Ansah-Amprofi, who is the Director of Plant Protection and Regulatory Services (PPRSD). She noted that the profile of yam is growing nationally in Ghana and as result of its socioeconomic importance, it was included in the transformative campaign “planting for food and jobs” in Ghana. She stated, “Yam was included in the priority crops of Ghana because of enormous potential and substantial foreign exchange to Ghana and improving the incomes of smallholders.”
“I believe our gathering here forms part of our seed agenda to build a system that is resilient, competitive and sustainable,” she concluded.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Director of IITA West Africa, Michael Abberton who represented the Director for West Africa, Robert Asiedu, applauded the effort and commitment put in by partners to ensure the sustainability of the project which will eventually translate to smallholder farmers.
Highlights of the meeting included an outline of project achievements in 2018. The advancement of the project into the next three years of implementation depended on IITA successfully demonstrating the feasibility of producing large volumes of seed using the high ratio propagation technologies (HRPTs) developed in the first phase of the project. IITA successfully produced 45,030 breeder plantlets, established 5.4 ha of land with single node vine cuttings, and harvested 73,742 basic seed tubers from 2.7 ha.
The seed companies in Nigeria established 142 demonstration trials in 2018 to train out-growers on seed production using the adapted yam minisett technique for seed yam production with the support of IITA and Context/Sahel. Also, YIIFSWA-II, in collaboration with the seed sector regulatory agencies in Nigeria and Ghana, reviewed and updated yam quality standards and certification procedures that were established during the first phase of the project for implementation in 2019.
In the new project year, YIIFSWA-II will be focusing efforts towards establishing sustainable supply of early generation seeds (EGS) or planting materials to cater for the supply of certified seed tubers to contribute to farmers’ increased use of quality seed of improved varieties. This will include the establishment of Temporary Immersion Bioreactor Systems (TIBS) to boost the production of breeder seed yam plantlets in Nigeria and Ghana.
Among other commitments, the five established seed companies in Nigeria will embark on seed production research to enhance their capacity in using technologies for foundation and commercial seed yam production with the support from IITA and Context.
The meeting was attended by participants from IITA, Context, Sahel Capital, the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC), National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Federal Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Crop Research Institute (CSIR-CRI), Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), and Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD). Nine seed companies also participated along with the National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers (NAY-FPM).
Find more details on this blog post and watch out for the YIIFSWA-II newsletter on the 4-day meeting and excursion to the largest tissue culture laboratory in West Africa.