Yam is an important agricultural commodity and a major staple crop in Ghana and Nigeria. There is potential for higher production and other value chain activities like export and processing. However, the unavailability of high quality seed yam and high cost of planting material has prevented producers from improving productivity and expanding the area under yam cultivation.
Acquiring high quality planting material for yam cultivation is a major challenge for farmers. Farmers often save about a 3rd of their harvest as planting material for the next planting season. These yam tubers are often contaminated with pest and diseases resulting in low yield potential. This is compounded by the low multiplication ratio of 1:4 for yams, which makes it difficult for ‘clean’ seed tubers to be multiplied rapidly for distribution or sale to farmers and the absence of a formal seed yam system in the entire yam zone of West Africa.