ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 75 Number 2
Improving traditional yam production systems: The case of yellow yams in Jamaica. (252)
In 1992, a technological package based on minisett production techniques was introduced to assess the impact on the traditional system of production and its efficiency to provide a year-round supply of yellow yam (Dioscorea cayenensis) in Jamaica. After its introduction, a modified system was developed for local conditions. One of the major components of the system was the adjustment of the planting sett size to 200 g, which was reduced from the traditional sett size of approximately 1 kg and increased from the standard minisett of 30 g. In order to reduce variability in sprouting, setts that sprouted at the same time were selected from a base population and planted weekly throughout the year. Uniformity in sprouting was achieved in the first generation and yam types were selected which would produce mature tubers in each month of the year. After the first year, the level of adoption of the components of the technological package was assessed using a farmer survey. Results indicated that farmers’ decisions to adopt the new practices were influenced largely by yield obtained from their plots. Ninety percent of farmers demonstrated varying levels of adoption and 90% of these were willing to plant smaller setts. Ease of application and reduction in labour were the most frequently reported advantages, and less frequently given reasons were marketability and profitability. Farmers continue to apply the components resulting in increased levels of productivity. However, the selected yam types already have been lost, for the most part, and there is need for development of a seed yam production unit that will monitor the supply of correct selected material to farmers. There is need also for development and promotion of a specialized market for minisett yams in order to encourage greater levels of efficiency.
Keywords: Yellow yam; Minisett; Farmer adoption; Production; Jamaica