Crops that feed the World 1. Yams

Yams for income and food security

Abstract

Yam (Dioscorea sp.) is a major source of food for millions of people in tropical and sub-tropical regions, especially in West and Central Africa where at least 60 million people depend on it. It is also a major source of income and an integral part of socio-cultural life. In addition to their food uses, some Dioscorea species are exploited for pharmaceutical products. Yam cultivation is undergoing intensification in many production zones leading to challenges in the management of soil fertility and structure, increasing pressure of diseases and pests (including weeds), and requirements for new varieties better suited to the changing biophysical and socio-economic circumstances. Greater attention also needs to be paid to raising labor productivity and improving access of producers to affordable and higher quality planting materials. These challenges, and the opportunities associated with the biology of the crop, need to be addressed more systematically and earnestly through collaborative research and development, and effective dissemination of the results to relevant stakeholders. The increasing capacity for, and international collaboration in, research and development on yam augur well for the future of the crop and the millions of people who depend on it.

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Acknowledgement

The authors are grateful to Dr. D.S.C. Spencer for compiling Table 2.

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Correspondence to Robert Asiedu.

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Asiedu, R., Sartie, A. Crops that feed the World 1. Yams. Food Sec. 2, 305–315 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-010-0085-0

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Keywords

  • Yam
  • Dioscorea
  • Food security
  • West Africa