Aimed at transforming the formal yam seed system in Nigeria and Ghana through a private-sector-led seed system that delivers competitively priced, high-quality seed tubers to farmers, the YIIFSWA-II program is the second phase of Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The program is led by the Nigeria-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in collaboration with Context Global Development (CGD), Sahel Capital (Sahel), national yam research institutions, seed certification agencies, and private seed companies in Nigeria and Ghana.
Unavailability and high cost of quality improved seed yam are foremost production constraints to yam farmers in West Africa. The formal seed yam system has been non-existent due to inefficient seed production, distribution, and quality assurance systems, and inadequate seed production has stalled yam development across West Africa. Yam multiplication ratios are low, and seed tubers are prone to contamination with pests and pathogens in the traditional systems of production.
YIIFSWA-II seeks to enable the emergence of a formal seed system that better serves the needs of farmers who depend on the yam value chain for food and income. Primary beneficiaries of the program include seed and ware yam producers, processors, marketers, transporters, and consumers.
The project team works closely with private seed companies to evaluate the business case for seed yam production, demonstrate the value of quality seed yam, and execute sales & marketing strategies. Focusing on business model optimization, the organizations intend to improve Early Generation Seed (EGS) system economics, localize seed production, and enable the scale-up of private seed companies.