A machine for making yam mounds?

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Yam is the “king of crops” in West Africa and one of the most important energy sources for many African countries. However, cultivating and preparing it is tedious for farmers because yam is planted in mounds (30 to 50 cm high and 1 or 2 m apart).

The advantage of the mound system in yam production includes loose soil conditions for easy tuber penetration, the collection of fertile topsoil, water control, and ease of harvesting. In addition, loose soil holds plenty of water and produces well-shaped yam tubers.

Making mounds is tough and particularly labor-intensive in yam cultivation and is one of the difficulties in expanding yam production and reducing costs in West Africa. Other challenges are low seed technology and pest and disease problems. IITA scientists Ryo Matsumoto and Haruki Ishikawa are working on mechanizing land preparation and making yam mounds using a small tiller in collaboration with private sector partner Honda under a project supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (MAFF) Japan.

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