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The AfricaYam project organized a seminar for the Yam Community of Practice (YCoP) with the theme: “YamBase: Integrating breeding tools to speed up yam breeding activities and data management in West Africa… Where are we?” at IITA, Ibadan, on 18 August to create awareness, encourage interaction, and exchange ideas about the YamBase platform.

Picture of IITA scientists discussing about the YamBase platform.
IITA scientists discussing the YamBase platform.

The seminar highlighted the need to improve the YamBase database as it is still in the development stage. In attendance at the gathering were researchers, scientists, and graduate fellows. Speaking at the opening event, Robert Asiedu, R4D Director, IITA-West Africa, commended the organizers for their hard work towards developing YamBase.

The development of a database to support breeders’ data activities and manage the data and comprehensive interface will assist breeders to achieve the goal of harmonizing the data generated from four countries (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria) and seven breeding programs in the project.

YamBase facilitates the creation of trials, avoids duplication, helps with germplasm management—generating barcodes for accessions, plots, and trials, and merges phenotypic data along with the genomic data selection.This tool establishes a breeders’ community of practice for participating countries with a focus on upgrading skills in phenotyping, breeding, program management, and trial management; helps minimize data loss; facilitates breeders’ activities by assisting them in their daily work; and aids integration of both phenotypic and genomic data for advanced data analysis such as genome wide association and QTL analysis.

Commenting on the need to integrate breeding tools to speed up yam breeding activities, Paterne Agre, IITA Molecular Breeding Analyst and data management, pointed out the importance of using YamBase to penetrate, coordinate, and integrate all the data that will be collected and generated over the years and also reach out to the community of yam practitioners.

Concurring, Afolabi Agbona, Database Curator/Data Analyst said, “I urge you all to continue to support the YamBase innovation so that that we can jointly take yam to a more competitive level.” Yam plays a key role in food security, income generation, and the sociocultural life of at least 60 million people in the region. “There is need to develop YamBase for effective data management and this can only be achieved through joint efforts,” he added.

Discussions were then led by Paterne and Afolabi at the end of the seminar. More efforts are needed to make this tool succeed like in the case of sweet potato base and Breeding Management System (BMS).

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