IITA’s objectives in yam crop improvement are to develop new varieties of yam with desired agronomic and quality traits such as high, stable yields and reduced labor requirements.

IITA scientists have made progress in finding and analyzing the genetics of yam resistance to Anthracnose and viral diseases. The sources of resistance have been used to develop improved varieties, which have been delivered to research partners.

IITA is increasing its efforts in creating and applying molecular markers for genetic improvement, using state-of-the art techniques in tissue culture to eliminate pathogens, principally viruses, from samples planned for international distribution.

Ongoing research also includes improving protocols for rapid mass propagation using seed yam, mini sett technology, aeroponics, and temporary immersion bioreactors.

In food science and technology IITA conducts research to improve the understanding of the relationships between physical and chemical properties of yam and the range and quality of processed yam products. IITA’s current work also includes screening new variety samples and yam food products for the incidence of micronutrients.