23 Aug 2010

Yam festival in Vanuatu spreads word about nutritional value of root crop

11:35 am on 23 August 2010

Scientists in Vanuatu hosted the country's first yam festival last week to teach farmers how to get the more out of the root vegetable.

The Department of Agriculture's root crop scientist, Dr Vincent Lebot, says yams can be sun dried into chips or milled into flour, which can then be used to make products for schools and urban markets.

He says younger farmers need to understand the nutritional value of yams is outstanding, compared to imported rice and bread.

"We hope that they will be able to exchange their knowledge and they're also giving us some feedback. We want to know what they think about these varieties that we have been distributing. So I believe that this is the kind of event that we need to promote the local traditional crop."

Dr Lebot says the festival was a great chance for farmers and scientists to learn more about which of the 600 varieties of yam are the most resistant to disease and the most productive to grow.