IITA and partners recently launched the Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) project, supported by a US$12 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The project aims to boost yam productivity and double the incomes of three million yam small-holder farmers in West Africa. It will focus on increasing yields through better seed yam supply and improving markets for this underground, edible tuber.
A key priority of the project is to ensure that affordable higher-yielding pest- and disease-free seed yam are available to farmers, along with storage and handling technologies that can reduce postharvest loss. The project will also develop a host of new yam varieties that can address the challenges in yam production.
The project has major emphasis on training and capacity development of farmers and farmersâ€™ organizations, and improvement of linkages of small-holder farmers to markets where a strong and steady demand for seed and ware yam allow them to realize the economic benefits of increased productivity.
IITA leads the 5-year project in collaboration with the national organizations of Ghana and Nigeria, the UKâ€™s Natural Resources Institute (NRI), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
For more information, visit www.iita.org/web/yiifswa.