The Chairman of Technical Committee on Nigerian Yam Export Programme, Prof. Simon Irtuwange, has said the country could earn N4.01 trillion on seed yam annually if it adopts Aeroponics system.
Our correspondent reports that Aeroponics enables farmers to plant yam in the air without the use of soil, a system developed by the Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) and funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for rapid production of high quality yam.
“Nigeria can earn N4.01 trillion on seed yam alone annually if it adopts the Aeroponics system,” he said.
Irtuwange who spoke at a news conference in Makurdi on Monday, added that yam is a huge revenue earner which could turn the fortune of the country around if given the proper attention desired.
Earlier, the focal person for Advocacy and Resource Mobilisation for YIIFSWA, Team Nigeria, Perpetual Iyere-Usiahon, said they were in Benue State to sensitise farmers and other stakeholders on the need to embrace the new system for improved income as well as other benefits.
She said that yam as a staple and economic crop with Nigeria being the highest producer globally covering about three million hectares and an average yield of 10 tons per hectare from farmer’s field and due to importance attached to it in West Africa, propelled the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to improve on the crop for better economic benefits.
Usiahon noted that the success of the improved findings initiated by IITA in two countries of Nigeria and Ghana had at the moment, encouraged private yam seed suppliers to already keyed into the Aeroponics system and one node vine cutting in the country.
“This advocacy became necessary to sensitize farmers and other investors to take advantage of the new technology and grow their wealth. We are all part of the value chains in one way or the other as producers, consumers of goods and services, processors, retailers, finance providers and so on,” she posited.
The YIIFSWA focal person in Nigeria emphasised that the new system would curb post harvest loses, multiplication of seed yam, earn more foreign reserve and generate profits for the farmer, state and country at large.