Western Africa

YIIFSWA holds annual progress review and work planning and TAC meetings

The Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) project held its fourth annual progress review and planning meeting at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Kumasi, Ghana.

Participants came from various collaborating partner institutions, including IITA, CSIR-CRI, NRI/UK, CSIR-SARI, NRCRI, GLDB, PPRSD, NASC, NACGRAB, MSHR, CRS, JDPM, Sustenance Agro Ventures (SAVE), Arimathea Foundation, Biocrops Nigeria Ltd, and  Biochemical Ghana Ltd. They made presentations on
their achievements, work plans, and budgets for 2015 to synchronize activities for a more collective impact. The project is undergoing a restructuring in terms of governance and project activities.

Participants in the 4th YIIFSWA review and planning meeting.

Participants in the 4th YIIFSWA review and planning meeting.

At the opening ceremony, Claire Kpaka, representative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, expressed her appreciation of the participants’ active participation in the annual review and planning workshop, urging them to take an active part in the planning process.

Dr Robert Asiedu, YIIFSWA Project Director, also welcomed the participants and presented the key milestones that needed to be considered. YIIFSWA is on its last 18 months of project implementation. In his talk, he said that the past year had been very demanding, but the implementing staff needed to revisit the project’s objectives, activities, and targets. He also encouraged participants to address issues regarding communication, documentation of achievements, and the monitoring and evaluation of outputs.

In his presentation, Dr Norbert Maroya, Project Manager, reported on the restructuring changes, with the seven components now stream­lined into two: Governance, Leadership,
and Partnership; and Seed Systems.

The Technical Advisory Committee  (TAC) of the project also met after the review and planning workshop. Present at the meeting were Prof Alexandre Dansi, Dr Hiroko Watanabe, Prof Janice Olawoye, Messrs Tony Sikpa and Cephas Dormediameo, Ms Lydia Susu, Drs Asiedu and Maroya, Drs Beatrice Aighewi, Lava Kumar, Antonio Lopez-Montes, Morufat Balogun, Djana Mignouna, Kingsley Osei, and Ms Oiwoja Odihi.

TAC members and YIIFSWA project scientists.

TAC members and YIIFSWA project scientists.

TAC members reviewed the previous year’s recommendations and the execution of the project activities.
The main discussion point was ensuring that the project meets its goal of increasing yam productivity (yield and net output) by 40% for 200,000 smallholder farmers in Ghana and Nigeria. The TAC members acknowledged that extensive work
had been done with regard to delivering key research products that would contribute to improving yam productivity but more work was needed to provide evidence of the project’s achievements.

TAC members said that a lot of good work was being done in YIIFSWA and that the project needed to tell
the world about this. TAC members will thus be adding project advocacy for regional yam development to
their tasks.

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