Monday, October 14, 2013

FARA wants more attention on yam research

Participants at the global yam conference in Accra.
The Executive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr Yemi Akinbamijo has said that in spite of the contribution to food security and incomes, African crops such as yam have not commanded the attention they deserved, and have as a result remained underutilized.
   “Yams are unexploited in several aspects: actual yields are lower than potential, utilization is low for instance in animal feeds, and potential for diversification of yam products among others is unexploited,” he said.
   Commending IITA for its contribution to yam research and development, Dr Akinbamijo said that the key to unlocking the potential of yam lies in science and technology and empowerment of the producers, marketers, and consumers to take advantage of what research offers.
   According to him, “the challenge is to mobilize the investment required to conduct research and develop the yam value chain into a profitable enterprise for small and large-scale operators alike.”
   The Global Conference on Yams held in Accra, 3-6 October, provides a forum for stakeholders to explore recent innovations in yam improvement, share lessons learned, identify research and development needs, and develop global alliances.
   Dr Robert Asiedu, IITA Director for Western Africa, and the Convener of the Conference said that the event provided a platform for consultation and development of a global strategy for improving the yam sector based on genetic enhancement; crop protection and mitigation of risks due to pests, diseases and climate change; conservation of genetic resources; prevention of postharvest losses; improved seed systems; crop diversification; and enhancing industrial potential of yam and improved market access.
   The ultimate goals of the event are to establish: (i) a global alliance for yam improvement; (ii) gain more investments to advance and expand yam R4D agenda globally, and (iii) contribute to the strengthening of R&D capacity and human resource development for sustainable yam improvement.

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