|Dr. Sanginga addressing participants at yam conference.|
Researchers, policymakers, and representatives from the private sector at the first ever global yam conference in Accra, Ghana, say that recent investments in yam research are paying off, and demonstrating the crop’s greater potential than what is being realized.
“Sustaining and enhancing funding support for yam research and development backed by political will are needed to unlock the crop’s full potential,” said Director General Nteranya Sanginga.
He praised the government of Japan, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) for supporting IITA on yam research and called on researchers to develop a vision for the crop.
Known as the ‘king of crops’ because of its contribution to incomes and food security, yam also has high cultural value especially in traditional marriages in Africa. However, the crop is under-researched due to low funding, limiting its potential for alleviating poverty.
“If we attract more investments to advance and expand yam research globally, the anticipated benefits and impacts will be quite enormous,” said the Ghanaian Minister for Food and Agriculture, Clement Kofi Humado.
Represented by the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, the minister said that there was a need to “soberly rethink through research-and-development, and invest our limited resources judiciously to ensure best results.”