Five high-yielding yam varieties have been developed by the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) to help boost yam production in the country.
The improved varieties, which are high-yielding, disease-resistant and more nutritious, are SDr1403004, SDr1403003, SDr1403005, SDr1403031 and SDr1403074.
They have since been approved by the National Varietal Release and Registration Committee (NVRRC) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for release to farmers.
Ten superior landraces were selected for multi-locational evaluation in 2016 and 2017, using a selection index based on tuber yield, yam mosaic virus (YMV) and yam anthracnose disease (YAD) resistance, tuber dry matter content and maturity period.
Based on the performance of the genotypes in the two-year multi-locational evaluation, five landraces that combined high tuber yield with acceptable food quality were identified for on-farm trials in 2018 and 2019.
And after two years of on-farm evaluation across five locations, five landraces were proposed for release based on their tuber yield, disease resistance and consumer acceptability for pounded yam and sliced yam.
Characteristics of varieties
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, a yam breeder at the CSIR-SARI, Dr Emmanuel Chamba, who led the team of researchers, explained that the new varieties had early maturity period and superior food quality.
They also had high tuber yield, long shelf life and produced multiple medium-sized tubers that were ideal for export, he noted.
“The release and dissemination of these varieties will help improve the production and productivity of yam, including the livelihood of farmers and other actors in the yam value chain in the country,” Dr Chamba added.
The approval by NVRRC formed the first stage of processes leading to the official release of the varieties to farmers.
The Leader of the NVRRC, Dr Paulina Addy, commended the research team for coming out with the improved varieties, which she said would help enhance food security in the country.
Dr Addy, however, urged the research team to review the suggested names for the new varieties for easy identification.