A cross section of participants in the 4th AfricaYam project annual meeting in Abidjan
The AfricaYam Project held its 4th annual progress review and planning meeting from 26 February to 1 March at Hotel Tiama in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Fifty scientists, partners, and other stakeholders from eight countries; namely, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Ghana, Japan, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the USA, attended the four-day meeting to review the progress made on the project in 2017 and develop a work plan for 2018.
In his opening remarks, Dr Adiko Amoncho, Scientific Adviser for International Cooperation of le Centre National de Recherché Agronomique (CNRA), who represented the Director General of the institution, emphasized the importance of yam in meeting the food needs of not only Ivorians but the people of the subregion. According to him, yam accounts for 31% of the country’s 16 million tons of annual food production, which makes it the largest food crop in the country. He welcomed the participants to the city of Abidjan and wished them successful deliberations.
In his welcome address, Robert Asiedu, IITA Director, Research and Development, West Africa, represented by AfricaYam Project Leader, Patrick Adebola, thanked the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “AfricaYam partners have grown as a team and gained more confidence in dealing with the obstacles and challenges in the path to our goals,” he stated. He thanked the project advisory committee members for their dedication, consistency, and active advice outside the annual meetings.
The AfricaYam project is focused on breeding for high yielding and robust varieties of white (D. rotundata) and water yams (D. alata) that will be preferred by farmers and suited to market demands. The project is led by IITA and involves a network of research organizations in the four main producing countries of the yam belt: the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) and the Ebonyi State University (EBSU) in Nigeria; two research institutes under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Ghana (the Crops Research Institute and the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute); le Centre National de Recherché Agronomique (CNRA), Côte d’Ivoire; and Université d’Abomey-Calavi (UAC), Dassa Center, Benin.
The project also works in collaboration with other research institutions outside Africa including Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), France; Iwate Biotechnology Research Center (IBRC), Japan; Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), Cornell University, USA; Japan International Research Centre for Agriculture (JIRCAS), Japan; and James Hutton Institute (JHI), UK.