Paucity Of Fund Stalls Yam Production
FG Tasked On Empowering Stakeholders
Partners on yam production is seeking the support of the Federal Government in setting up of public-private initiative to facilitate an emerging tissue-culture-based yam seed in the country.
This was contained in Communiqué issued at the end of a Yam Seed Production workshop held at the University of Ibadan (UI) and signed by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Prof. Gbemisola Oke and the workshop facilitator, Dr Morufat Balogun, Geneticist in the Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology.
The workshop, which was on using Temporary Immersion Bioreactors (YAM TIBs), noted that there was limited availability of yam seeds from TIBs.
The yam stakeholders also identified scarcity of planting materials as the major constraint to yam production in Nigeria.
“In order to allay fear or reservations towards acceptability of tissue culture produced seed yam among other farmers or general populace, there should be advocacy for acceptability of the technology through different media,’’ it said.
The document stated that stakeholders had observed that there was need to use TIBS to speed up the production of planting materials also known as clean seed yam.
According to the communiqué, yam is an important food crop in Nigeria and the country is the world’s largest producer.
“Having identified possible market glut that might result from rapid propagation technologies, the workshop opined that NRCRI and National Stored Product Research Institute (NSPRI) should develop and advocate for improved harvesting, post-harvest handling and storage’’
The workshop also called on the Federal government to, as a matter of priority, revitalise the yam export market in line with the alternative revenue drive of the present administration.
It equally canvassed for youth training and development using National Youth Corps members so as to overcome inadequate skill and low farmers’ level of education on the novel seed production system.
The stakeholders also recognised irregular electricity and availability of materials and reagents as threats to sustainable adoption of the technology. To this end, it urged researchers to seek alternative, environment-friendly and cheaper sources of power and reagents.
It also called for increased automation in the technology to reduce possibility of human error, which could cause huge losses. Lack of funds to maintain the technology after set-up was identified as a main threat to its use.
The workshop recommended that the government should put in place policies to support farmers’ cooperatives, while also removing bottlenecks in assessing the existing agriculture loans.
The workshop was collaboration between academic excellence of (UI) and Pennsylvania State University, USA, geared towards meeting the societal needs of the people.
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