The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) said it has embarked on ‘genetic diversity’ land race for the African yam-bean crop to improve soil fertility and achieve food security.
With over 40 varieties, the African yam-bean has the ability to produce bean and tuber rich in protein and calories needed for human growth and development.
The IITA’s genetic professor and principal investigator for African yam-bean, Morufat Balogun, revealed this at the ongoing research by the institute, on Wednesday in Kano.
Also, she said the crop could withstand climatic changes after showing prospects even in areas with less rainfall.
The agronomist described the crop as a “high nutrition-packed crop abandoned due to introduction of quick maturing crops”.
According to her, the crop has the ability to withstand changing climate conditions as shown by research.
“African yam-bean is an indigenous crop. It is a legume, traditionally held in high importance, especially in southwestern Nigeria.
“Taking the Africa yam-bean secures the health and nutrition of the family because it contains more than 30 per cent more protein than other plants and crops.
“Also, it has the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen. All crops usually require nitrogen phosphorus and potassium and some micro-nutrients for them to grow well in the soil.
“This crop is able to fix the nitrogen in the air and convert it to what is needed in the soil; that means, it will reduce the use of synthetic fertilisers and bring farmers more profit by spending less on fertilisers.
“It has been forgotten due to national and international support, as well as funding for crops like cowpea and soybean,” Balogun said.
She forecasted that the rebirth of the crop would lead to better environmental preservation and higher food security because “it came with better options and more nutrients”. (NAN)