N/R: CSIR-SARI discovers five new varieties of yam

The National Varietal Release and Registration Committee (NVRRC) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has approved five new varieties of yam.

The yam varieties were developed by a team of researchers from the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI).

Yam production and consumption have been on the increase over the years.

However, the increase in demand is often met by increasing the land area under cultivation rather than resulting from an increase in the yield per unit area.

But with the increasing population and demand for land for other uses, the trend of area expansion is not sustainable and the fallow period has become shorter, a situation which is creating an urgent need for improved high-yielding varieties with acceptable end-user quality.

This means that farmers can recoup their investment and still generate GH¢4.9, GH¢3.8, GH¢3.8, GH¢3.6, and GH¢2.8 for every GH¢1 invested compared to the farmer variety with a benefit cost ratio of GH¢2.9.

Dr Emmanuel Chamba, Yam Breeder and Lead Scientist for the Improvement Programme at CSIR-SARI, said the new variety will combine high tuber yield with long shelf life and good food quality.

He indicated that the economic analysis proved a high revenue or benefit out of the proposed varieties.

“The release and dissemination of these varieties will help to improve the production and productivity of yam in Ghana and improve the livelihoods of farmers and other actors in the yam value chain.”

Dr. Chamba noted, “Though yam production and consumption have been on the increase, it is often met by increasing farm lands area under cultivation rather than resulting from an increase in yield per unit area.”

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He believes the new varieties SDr1403031, SDr1403004, SDr1403003, SDr1403005 and SDr1403074 will produce high yielding medium-sized tubers that are ideal for the export market.

The representative of NVRRC, Dr. Paulina Addy, tasked the research team to provide the committee with documents highlighting the genotype, climate resilient qualities, complete composition of the research team and data on the virus index and shelf life.

She urged the breeders to submit the suggested names for the varieties for review by the team.

The NVRRC is the authority responsible for approving the official release of new crop varieties in Ghana based on laid down procedures.

By Christopher Amoako|3news.com|Ghana