Yam plantlets at the aeroponics screen house are growing at an exponential rate after being exposed to sunlight! Also, vines pruned from the aeroponics system and planted into soil are producing shoots within 2 weeks.
This is good news for yam growers as it takes 4 to 6 weeks for normal vines from field plants to develop shoots.
Dr Norbert Maroya, the principal scientist on the development of the aeroponics system for seed yam production, said that the YIIFSWA project is planting over 1800 one-node vine cuttings (in soil) from vines produced in the system to produce mini-seed yam tubers. He said he is excited that the shoots at the screen house were developing within 2 weeks of planting.
“To understand why this is significant,” he gushed, “it is important to note that vine cuttings pruned from plants grown on the field take about 1 to 2 months to establish both roots and shoots. But given the vitality of these vines, roots and shoots develop within 2 to 3 weeks after being planted in the soil.”
Vine cutting technology was developed to improve the multiplication rate of yam as well as reduce the impact of pests and diseases on seed tubers. The use of vine cuttings as a planting material gives a higher multiplication rate that is about 30 times more than in the traditional system.”
Both the aeroponics system and vine cutting technology offer a rapid solution for a high-output production of seed yam. Together they can address the need for the quick distribution of planting materials of improved varieties to large numbers of farmers. With
such promising results, YIIFSWA is set to achieve its goal of producing 100,000 clean planting materials by the end of the fourth project
year. These will be distributed to
national agricultural research and extension systems, private seed companies, and farmers involved in producing certified or quality declared seed yam.