The Crops Research Institute is making a case for yam production to be included in government’s Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.

Director, Dr. Stella Aba Ennin, says though Ghana is earning a lot from yam export there is the need to maximize cultivation output to guarantee food security.

At a workshop in Kumasi she says current supply levels still fall short of achieving poverty reduction and wealth creation targets.

"We’re earning so much from yam export but we need to give it the prominence and importance it deserves.

“We have not heard it in planting for food and jobs; I believe it’s not too late let’s put yam as a key commodity in the programme,” Dr. Aba Ennin noted.

Ghana produces five million metric tons of yams per year, contributing to over 16 percent of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product.

Unfortunately the yields are on rapid decline due to disease and pest attack.

Seeds are key drivers of food security and sustainability, especially, with the threat of climate change on agricultural production.

Yam seed constitutes as much as 50 per cent of total cost of producing the crop, raining concerns about best practices to maintain healthy seeds at farm level. 

The Community Action for Yam Seed (CAY-SEED) Project seeks to address major limitations to yam production. 

Smallholder farmers in Ghana and Nigeria are being supported to improve on the quality of stored yam seed for higher productivity.

The three-year project is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve quality and productivity for 3,000 smallholder farmers in Ghana and Nigeria.

Six seed growers have received 10,000 US dollars for the programme which Regional coordinator, Kingsley Osei, says has achieved 8 tonnes per hectare.