In February, 2019 the IITA Yam Improvement Program, with the support of projects from BMGF, the AfricaYam and YIIFSWA-II, and MoFA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan successfully delivered improved yam variety seedlings to two seed companies: PS Nutraceuticals, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria and Da AllGreen seeds limited, Kaduna, Nigeria. The seedlings were produced using Semi Autotrophic Hydroponics technology. The two seed companies received a total of 3, 300 seedlings to facilitate foundation seed production. This dispatch is part of IITA yam breeding improvement plan to enhance the market penetration of improved yam varieties with enabling seed technologies assisted rapid multiplication and distribution of planting materials to growers.
SAH plants in the laboratory shelves
Pelemo Olugboyega, IITA PhD student who is working on Yam multiplication said, “the yam seedlings being distributed to the companies are improved varieties, virus-free and of high quality compared to most of the known farmer’s varieties”. “The SAH technology has the potential for rapid multiplication and is highly suitable and cost-effective for yam seedling production” he said. The essence of promoting High-ratio propagation technologies (HrPTs) is to bridge the gap between the required and the available seed in yam production. Seedlings thus obtained from the institute are breeder seeds which can be further multiplied using other HrPTs of interest. Seed companies with an interest in seed yam production are however free to contact IITA yam program or IITA GoSeed under the IITA business incubation platform (BIP).
Perforated paper cartons used to transport the seeds
According to Mr. Pelemo, SAH has the potentials to supply a million seed over a period of 4 months based on the current stock in the laboratory.
Interestingly, Yam SAH seedlings are less cumbersome and easy to park and transport. A handy well-perforated paper carton can carry up to 40 SAH boxes translating to 1000 plants as each SAH box contains 25 plants. SAH seedlings thus parked can be transported across border either by road or by air for up to 72 hours. It is a veritable means of germplasm distribution and exchange with NARS and seed companies in clonal crops. It is also important to note that, the companies requesting for the seedlings are those in partnership with YIISFWA project. The plants are meant to augment their present stock for them to meet their seed targets.
GO-SEED under IITA is also currently in contact with Seed Producers across Nigeria to enable them access Breeder seed from IITA.