Yam seeds produced from Semi-Autotrophic Hydroponics (SAH) plants are currently being harvested by the Yam Breeding team with some tubers weighing up to 1.1 kg. SAH plants were first transferred to the field on June 5, 2017 and harvested same year in November with a maximum tuber of yam weighing 470g. Based on the initial success, the fields were planted between Oct and Nov of 2017 and harvesting started in May 2018 when the plants were 6-7 months old.
SAH yam harvested from the field
SAH is a robust technique for efficient and rapid multiplication of clonal or vegetatively propagated crops with the potential to produce 720,000 plants per year. It is also a suitable tool that can enhance breeding activities.
It has been used for the production of seeds, particularly potatoes and cassava. It has also been used to produce multiple planting materials majorly for two varieties of D. rotundata and three varieties of D. alata.
Yam SAH boxes under LED light in shelve plates.
SAH technology is a low cost, licensed method for high ratio propagation of true-to-type virus free (VF) plants. The SAH facility for yam was initiated at IITA-Ibadan in April 2017, in the quest to expand the scope of technologies targeted at seed yam production and to complement the existing technologies which are being developed or refined to produce seed to meet the growing seed demand of yam growers in West Africa. The technology offers a fast multiplication rate, low cost of production, less than 2 % plant loss, and little contamination.
Pelemo Olugboyega, IITA Ph.D. student working on Yam multiplication explained that “The yield decline challenge occasioned by virus and nematode infection can be averted now that there are more alternative technologies that can deliver clean seed to farmers”.
New shoot formation occurs about 7 days or more after planting in SAH box
SAH also makes available a very robust and accommodating value chain which different cadre of seed growers can benefit from while growing the business of seed yam production among yam growers.