Improved water yam varieties creating business opportunities for Nigerian farmers

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Yam is an important crop with the largest mono-product market that attracts buyers and sellers from various parts of Nigeria and West Africa. It has become a cash crop and, recently, has been servicing some food industries in Nigeria.

IITA has unlocked groundbreaking discoveries in yam that make yam farmers sing a new song. The Institute, in collaboration with the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), has developed and released 10 yam varieties, two of which, Vayam and Akuabata, are Dioscorea alata, commonly known as water yam. They have been extended to the farmers through a demand creation program executed by the IITA Yam Improvement Program.

The Vayam and Akuabata varieties are excellent as boiled and pounded yam (yam dough), respectively. These varieties are also good for making yam flour, which is suitable as a composite for pastries. Since their release, the varieties have been out-scaled to farmers’ groups in 11 states in Nigeria, with great zeal to out-scale to all the yam-growing states in the country, extending it to farmers across the yam-growing belt of West Africa.

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