Yam Revolution: IITA/YIIFSWA Hands Over Aeroponics Facility To NRCRI
The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), under the auspices of its Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) has handed over an Aeroponics System Facility to the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umuahia, Abia state, which it set up at the insitute.
Aeroponics is a method of growing plants in a soilless environment with very little water as well as an effective high ratio seed yam propagation technology.
At the hand over of the facility on Friday to NRCRI Executive Director, Dr. Julius Okonkwo, the YIIFSWA Research for Development (R4D) Director, Dr Robert Asiedu said that with Aeroponics, there is now great future of yam, which hitherto, was seemingly waning. He said that Yam, which is a food and income generation crop has risen again, indicating that with time and further researches, there would be increased production.
Also, YIIFSWA Project Leader, Dr. Norbert Maroya, who said that there are 1960 plants in the NRCRI Aeroponics, adding that the institute had better quality materials.
According to Okonkwo, who debunked the impression created in some quarters that Yam was abandoned in favor of Cassava, pointed out that International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) sponsored Yam research.
He added that NRCRI was happy with its collaboration with the IITA whom he thanked for its financial support and assistance in the training and retraining of the institute’s staff.
Two of the NRCRI staff namely Mrs. Onyinyechi Okeagu and Mr. Paul Madumere, who were recently trained on Aeroponics were issued with their Certificates at the handover ceremony.
YIIFSWA Country Director, Dr. John Ikeorgu said that after about 40’years that Yam seemingly became ‘impossible crop’, it is no more so today.
Similarly, the NRCRI YIIFSWA Project Coordinator, Dr. Eke Okoro said that with the domesticated Aeroponics facility, the impact and successes the NRCRI made in Cassava stand to be replicated in Yam.
However, the NRCRI Director of Farming Systems Research and Extension Dr. Godwin Asomugha, who lauded the breakthrough technology, remarked that Aeroponics alone cannot lead to Yam mass production without its being keyed into farming system.