Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Real-Time PCR training

Shirima shows the trainees how to detect cassava brown streak viruses (CBSVs) using real time PCR
The second training was conducted for the staff of the Molecular Biology Laboratory at the hub and was conducted by Rudolph Shirima, a research associate under the Virology and Vector Ecology department of IITA Eastern Africa Hub.

The training was organized by IITA under the auspices of the Cassava Varieties and Clean Seed to combat CBSD and CMD (5CP) project. Its objective was to equip the trainees with the knowledge and skills to operate and use real-time PCR to diagnose viruses in cassava. The training also covered sample collection and management for diagnostics.

IITA steps up capacity building efforts in Tanzania

A group photo of the participants of the SAS training
Two one-week trainings took place at IITA-Tanzania as part of efforts to build the capacity of its staff and those of partners to improve the quality of its research for better impact. One of the trainings focused on use of Statistical Analysis System (SAS) to manage and analyze different types of data including experimental and socioeconomic data while the second was on Real-Time PCR.

The SAS training, conducted by Sam Ofodile and Yemi Oluwasoga, from Ibadan Nigeria, brought together 32 participants. They were drawn from both national and international IITA staff and from partner institutions―the Sugarcane Research Institute (SRI) Kibaha as well as MSc and PhD students from Sokoine University of Agriculture and Mandela University. Two PhD students also came from Nairobi.

The training covered the different analysis models for different study designs. The SAS software was installed on each participant’s laptop with a one-year license provided by the IITA Biometric Unit to enable participants to access it.

The training was officially opened by Edward Kanju on behalf of the Director for the Eastern Africa Hub who welcomed all the participants and noted that the training was long overdue. The training was officially closed by Abass Adebayo, also on behalf of the Director for Eastern Africa. He thanked the training facilitators for a job well done and urged participants to use the gained skills to improve their data analysis and paper publications.

IITA hosts party for staff and their families in Tanzania

Manyong (second left) presents a gift to Sophia Swai (extreme right)
 in recognition of her 12 years of service to IITA
 IITA ended its rather eventful year in Tanzania on a high note with an end-of-year party for all its staff and their families in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The annual event was held at the Kunduchi Beach Hotel and was packed with lots of fun activities and games allowing the staff and family members to interact and get to know each other better in an informal setting.

While addressing the staff and their family members, Victor Manyong, the Director for Eastern Africa thanked them for all their support and hard work that saw a very successful year for the hub.
Children of staff prepare to compete in a sack race

He highlighted one of the key events in the year as the very successful launch of the Science Building in May that was attended by high-level policy makers in the region including presidents and ministers, donors, and the private sector. He said the success of the event had led to the selection of IITA Tanzania as the venue for the CGIAR Board meeting in March 2014. He also noted the hub had increased in staff and in the number of new projects.

He called upon everyone to work together towards supporting the Institute to achieve its goal of helping smallholder farmers in Africa.

Manyong also presented a long-term service award to Sophia Swai who had been with the Institute for 12 years. Presents were also given to the winning teams in the different games and activities for the day.

Giant strides in IITA plantain breeding for West Africa

Amah during her contract review seminar
IITA has made significant progress in its plantain research in West Africa with the generation of seedlings from crosses with in vitro induced tetraploids from diploids―a first for the Institute.

The IITA Regional Banana Breeding Manager, Delphine Amah, who supervised execution of the crosses in IITA-Ibadan, said the crosses were vital for plantain improvement in West Africa in the years ahead.

Delivering her contract review seminar titled: Support to Banana and Plantain Breeding―Updates on West Africa, Amah said the Banana Unit had recorded giant strides in the recent years.

For instance, as part of a revised pre-breeding strategy to produce improved parents while shortening the breeding cycle for plantain, the unit was now producing tetraploids which have four sets of chromosomes from diploids (which have two) using optimized in vitro doubling techniques.

In addition, tissue culture techniques have been employed to generate seedlings from crosses through embryo culture and mass propagation of plants for clonal evaluation.

The unit is also promoting the use of macropropagation and field propagation techniques for the production of clean planting material and good agronomy practices.

So far, Amah and her team have produced and distributed thousands of Agbagba plantain plantlets to the IITA farm unit and Youth Agripreneur project for propagation and distribution.

Furthermore, they have established pollination blocks with female fertile plantain landraces and Black Sigatoka resistant tetraploid plantain hybrids for accelerated breeding.

The team has established recently imported Musa acuminata ssp. banksii accessions for evaluation and use as parents in crosses to breed for plantains with high provitamin A content.

They have also established a propagation scheme for the production of plantlets for pollination blocks and planned trials to enable registration of new IITA hybrids.

All these activities are aimed at rejuvenating plantain breeding in IITA for efficient delivery of improved varieties to farmers, she said.
Okafor (in a hat) poses for a group photo with the winners of IITA
Women Group scholarships for 2013 and their families

On 23 December 2013, IITA-Kalambo held a Christmas and year-end party to celebrate Christmas and reflect on its achievements over the year. The event which was held in collaboration with CIAT and Biodiversity International was attended by staff and their families.

The event was geared towards improving relationships among the staff for effective team work and collaboration and for their families to get to know each other and exchange Christmas and new-year wishes.

Okafor (in a hat) poses for a photo with the winners of the Most Valuable Colleague (MVC)
of the Year (to his immediate right) IITA's Ghislain Kakule and CIAT's Elise Mundwanga
The CIAT Coordinator and Country Manager of HarvestPlus, Antoine Lubobo, gave the opening remarks and welcomed all the families to the event while the Officer-in-Charge of IITA-Kalambo, Chris Okafor, made the closing remarks. Okafor, accompanied by his wife, thanked all staff for their diligence, dedication,
and contributions to the success of the Station.

“This is the first time that CIAT, Bioversity, and IITA staff are celebrating together. This goes to strengthen the fact that we are a family and I am convinced that the next year will be more even more successful,” Okafor noted.

Also during the event, the Most Valuable Colleague (MVC) of the Year among
the nationally recruited staff at IITA and CIAT, as voted by their colleagues, were recognized and given appreciation plaques and gifts. The winners were Ghislain Kakule, IITA Station Accountant, and Elise Mundwanga, CIAT Research Assistant.

Two children of staff members―Kaambira Hense and Mugaruka Regie―who were successful in the IITA Women’s Group 2013 Scholarship scheme also received their award certificates at the event.

DG meets staff of IITA Kalambo, Bukavu, DR Congo

IITA DG and the Director for Central Africa addressing the staff at IITA Kalambo station
During his official tour in DR Congo, the IITA Director General, Nteranya Sanginga, met with all the staff and students of the Kalambo Station on 9 January 2014.  He was accompanied by Bernard Vanlauwe, the Director for the Central African Hub; Jacqueline Musiimenta, the Finance Officer; and Linda Wangila, the Hub Administration Assistant based in Nairobi, and Quadrer Waheed and Oyedeji Musendeeq from Ibadan. 

Giving a brief history of the station, the DG said the idea for the station was conceived 10 years ago while he was a Director at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). He was happy and excited that the Station would be now officially commissioned under his leadership in 2014.

He said the event would attract Heads of State in the region including the IITA Goodwill Ambassador for Africa, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, top government functionaries, and the donor community. He therefore urged all staff to give their best and ensure the success of the event.

He further encouraged both staff and students to take advantage of opportunities available at the IITA Capacity Development Unit to advance their professional careers and academic interests.

Also addressing the staff and students, Vanlauwe added that the event would be a golden opportunity to explain to the host country, DR Congo and Africa in general on how IITA could contribute to efforts towards reducing poverty and food and nutritional insecurity in the region. He said during the event, both scientists and students would be given the opportunity to present their work and future plans.

Tanzania takes first steps towards initiating a Youth Agriprenuers program

IITA Tanzania will soon start own its youth agribusiness program that aims at equipping young, unemployed men and women with agriculture and business skills to encourage them to set up their own agribusiness or increase their employment opportunities in agriculture and research. This is part of the Institute’s effort to tackle the high unemployment rate, one of the main development challenges in Africa, and a general lack of interest in agriculture by young people.

Currently, several students from the University of Sokoine in Tanzania who finished their internship at the Institute but asked to stay on as volunteers have expressed their interest in such a program. The youth also met the IITA DG in December, while he was on an official visit in the country, and he briefed them on the Agriprenuers program in Nigeria. He also assured them that IITA was very keen on establishing such programs across all its hubs in Africa to create employment opportunities for Africa’s youth.

Dr Sanginga (centre) poses for a group photo with the staff and youth
volunteers at IITA Tanzania in Dar es Salaam
“It’s a good start. We are exploring how to establish a youth agriprenuers program in Tanzania under the SARD-SC project and around the cassava value chain modeled along the one in Ibadan,” said Abass Adebayo, IITA value chain specialist under whom the students interned and are now volunteering. They were involved in efforts to develop the cassava value chain in the country.

Adebayo said the Institute was also currently working with a group of youth in Kigoma region, named Big Power Group, who have 30 ha of land and were engaged in growing and processing cassava.

He also noted several leaders in the country had requested for IITA’s support in engaging the youth in agriculture including the Regional commissioners for Coast and Kigoma regions.

“We will work with these leaders in developing programs to involve youth in agriculture where we will train and support them to carry out modern agriculture”.

One of the volunteers is Gaspa Audifas, 25, who graduated from the University of Sokoine in Food Science. He says he is very interested in such a program following the briefing of IITA’s DG on the progress made by the youth in Nigeria.

“There are many opportunities for the youth in agriculture. We just sometimes lack the knowledge and even faith in ourselves. Therefore such a program that will give us the skills to help us to put into good use the knowledge  we gained in school, and not necessarily wait to be employed, will be very important for Tanzania where unemployment is very high” he said. “There are very many unemployed graduates roaming the streets. There is no difference between them and those who are not educated!”


Governor of South Kivu, DRC, thanks IITA for its development efforts in the country

The Governor of South Kivu during the dinner he hosted in honour of IITA DG at his residence
His Excellency, Governor Marcelin Chishambo Ruhoya of South Kivu in DR Congo, has praised IITA’s efforts to support development in his region and country and assured the Institute of his government’s support of its activities. He said he was especially happy with the decision to set up a new science building in the province which is scheduled to be launched in June 2014.

IITA is a friend, he said, and the repairing of the road to the Station was a clear demonstration of his government’s desire to collaborate with the Institute.

The Governor was speaking at a dinner he hosted at his residence on 10 January 2014 for the IITA DG who was in the country on an official visit. It was attended by the Provincial Ministers of Agriculture, Health, and Budget, other aides to the Governor, and others.

On his part, the IITA DG thanked the Governor for granting him an audience earlier in the day and for his continued assistance and generous support to the IITA Station.  He recalled how the two of them had nurtured the idea of establishing a science laboratory in Kalambo (to be known as “Science for Peace” building) in 2004 while the DG was the Director of International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Governor was a State Advisor. 

The DG further commended the Governor for facilitating the execution of the project and for supporting the expansion of the station and construction of a Science Building. The DG also seized the opportunity to inform the aides of the governor of the plans to commission the IITA Kalambo Science Building on 5 June 2014. 

He said that the launch would attract Heads of States and top government functionaries and representatives of donor agencies and international organizations in the region and that the IITA Ambassador for Africa, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo would attend. 

He added that the Station will have cassava processing facilities so that farmers will have the opportunity to learn how to derive more benefits from cassava production.

“Apart from ugali, a popular cassava food in the region, there are more than 27 food products from cassava, well known for their nutritional value and marketability”, he said.  

DG Sanginga was accompanied to the dinner by Chris Okafor the Officer in Charge of IITA Kalambo and Musendeeq Oyedeji, one of the IITA engineers working at the site.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

FOSCA/YIIFSWA consultative meeting at IITA Ibadan

FOSCA/YIIFSWA stakeholders meeting in Ibadan
Component leaders and  partners involved in the implementation of the YIIFSWA program in Nigeria met on 9 December, in IITA Ibadan for a two-day consultative meeting with the Farmer Organization Support Centre (FOSCA ).

The meeting examined options for updating the database and ICT platform that will host YIIFSWA data and assist researchers and partners in the implementation of YIIFSWA.

According to YIIFSWA’s Project Manager, Dr Norbert Maroya, the objective of the meeting was to discuss and develop a system towards ‘’synchronizing in a single database all data and information on YIIFSWA project beneficiaries engaged by the various component objectives’’.

FOSCA’s Lead Coordinator, Mr Fadel Ndiame, who started the session with a presentation, stated that it was important to consider the required format preferences of the various objectives and partners in consolidating the YIIFSWA database. The database consolidation process requires inputs from all Objectives to contribute information towards institutional set up and define parameters for its sustainability and usefulness beyond the life of the project.

Components and Coordinators of Objectives 3,4,5,6, and 7 also gave presentations on the data collated and to be collected on farmers and other beneficiaries. Each highlighted information needs and discussed how to capture and incorporate it into the soon to be developed YIIFSWA database.

 Action points were then set up for further interventions. They include the development of a roadmap for a seed system, the submission of datasets to the FOSCA Team for upload by all the Objectives, the development of a knowledge protocol and typology of production systems and farmers, and the production of a concept note on the Yam Development Forum.

Military command pays courtesy visit to IITA

Dr Dashiell (3rd from left), Adediji (4th from left), and officials of the
Nigerian Air Force Command, Ibadan with IITA officials.
The Commander of the Nigerian Air Force Detachment, Ibadan, Air Commodore K.E. Adediji paid a courtesy visit to IITA on Friday and sought areas of possible collaboration between IITA and his command.

Adediji, who assumed office in Ibadan, last year, said the visit to IITA was significant in view of the strategic importance of IITA to Nigeria and Africa in general.

Receiving the Commander, the Acting IITA Director General, Dr Kenton Dashiell explained the vision and mission of IITA, adding that IITA would be willing to partner and support the Nigeria Air Force in the area of food security.

Dr Dashiell commended the Nigerian Government for her support over the years, stressing that the Institute was in support of the Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda.

IITA-Kano station hosts SAS training

Participants at the SAS training in Kano
ITA Kano station in collaboration with ICRISAT Nigeria hosted a week’s training on Statistics and Statistical Computing Course with SAS. The participants were drawn from IITA, ICRISAT, and other partners from Ahmadu Bello Univerisity, Zaria; and Bayero University, Kano. There were also participants from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, and the Lake Chad Research Institute.

The training was facilitated by Mr Sam Ofodile and Mrs Olayemi Oluwasoga of the Biometrics Unit in IITA-Ibadan who coached the 27 participants from Monday 16 to Friday 20 December 2013.

In his opening speech, Dr Alpha Kamara, IITA Station Representative urged participants to pay attention to the training and highlighted the importance of the training to scientific writing.

The one-week intensive training taught participants how to:

Use Genstat – Introduction to the software

  Write SAS codes and complex data management

Generate descriptive statistics and explore data with graphs

• Generate and interpret sample statistics using the UNIVARIATE and MEANS procedures

Detect associations among variables

• Perform analysis of variance and apply multiple comparison techniques

Perform linear and multiple regression and assess the assumptions

• Fit a multiple and binomial logistic regression model

Perform multivariate analysis

The training was formally closed on Friday afternoon with the presentation of certificates by Mr Ado Rabo, IITA Station Administrator.

IITA-YIIFSWA launches FCT Yam Development Forum (YDF) in Abuja

Members of the YDF and researchers in Abuja
The YIIFSWA project has launched the Federal Capital Territory Yam Development Forum (YDF) on Thursday 12 December, bringing key stakeholders across the yam value chain to a common platform with a view to enhancing the fortunes of yam farmers. The establishment of YDF builds on YIIFSWA’s community outreach that was held in August 2013, involving yam farmers and stakeholders in all the six local government areas.

In his opening speech, YIIFSWA Project Manager, Dr Norbert Maroya pointed out the importance of yam and Nigeria’s role as the world highest producer of yam. He said that it was paramount for research to improve yam productivity despite its challenges to ensure food security in Africa and assured farmers and other stakeholder of YIIFSWA’s support. 

FOSCA Lead Coordinator, Mr Fadel Ndiame commended the effort of the FCT yam farmers for being the first YDF to be formally inaugurated and encouraged them to improve the yam value chain in Nigeria and West Africa at large.

During his goodwill remarks, the FCT Director of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Abubakar Sani Pai called for concerted action from various partners to join hands in empowering farmers through the promising YDF. He said that the MDGs Unit of the FCT would support in postharvest technology to improve yam storage and marketing.

The Council Secretary, Mr Usman Yahaya inaugurated the 12-member committee and expressed his appreciation for the YDF initiative.

 In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of the FCT YDF, Alhaji Yahaya Garba Gigbe on behalf of his team, thanked the participants for the confidence reposed in them and indicated their readiness to lead a productive YDF that would facilitate constructive discussions to move the yam trade forward in the FCT and beyond.

In attendance also were the representatives of the ADP Executive Director, FOSCA’s Lead Coordinator and Objective 2 Leader, Mr Fadel Ndiame, YIIFSWA Seed Specialist and Objective 3 leader, Dr Beatrice Aighewi, and NRI representative of Objective 4, Dr Louise Abayomi.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cassava Transformation: Breaking the limits of climate change

Scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan and partners have successfully established a 100-hectare farm with cassava in Tureta, Sokoto State ―one of the semi-arid regions of Nigeria—breaking the barriers posed by climate change, and reinforcing the scientific theory that the root crop could be a lifeline to farmers in drought-prone regions, and even in the face of climate change.
Dr Okechukwu (second from right), Abubakar (fourth from right)
 and other farmers at the cassava farm

Dr Richardson Okechukwu, Leader of Nigeria’s Cassava Transformation Agenda at IITA, who gave technical backstopping to the successful establishment of the cassava farm in that region said, “Results from Sokoto clearly show that cassava is a crop that can guarantee food security in Africa.”

“This gives opportunity for farmers in the northern parts of Nigeria to grow cassava and reap the benefits,” he added.

Located in northwest Nigeria, Sokoto is characterized by Sahel savanna, and surrounded by isolated hills. The rainy season in the state is from June to October. From late October to February, during the cold season, the climate is dominated by the Harmattan wind blowing Sahara dust over the land. The dust dims the sunlight thereby lowering temperatures significantly and also leading to the inconvenience of dust everywhere in houses.

Despite the limitations of the terrain, farmer Salihu Abubakar of Saajab Farms contacted IITA via the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for help to enable him to establish a cassava farm in the region.

“It was a great challenge … the challenge of water and also that of termites. The first materials we planted were eaten by termites… but we never gave up. The challenge of water was solved through irrigation while we used neem to treat the planting materials,” Dr Okechukwu explained.

By taking heed to counsel from researchers, farmer Abubakar is now the owner of a 100-ha cassava farm in one of Nigeria’s semi-arid zones, and the farm is expanding.
The 100-ha cassava farm in Sokoto

Farmer Abubakar said he had secured contracts from several countries including China to export cassava chips, and his farm would contribute significantly in meeting the demand.

The success of the farm has been hailed by the State Government with the Governor of the state pledging to support the investment by providing the enabling environment.

The farm successfully demonstrates how a former “waste land” can be converted to productive land, thanks to the Cassava Transformation Agenda and the work of researchers at IITA.

“For me, all I can say is that I am grateful to IITA,” farmer Abubakar said.

Saving Enset–Ethiopia’s ancient false banana from deadly bacterial wilt disease

Enset in a farmer's field in Southern Ethiopia. 40-year-old Langano Mamo extracting
 pulp from enset which is fermented and used to make various traditional dishes.
The Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) recently launched a new project to improve enset (commonly known as false banana because of its resemblance to the crop but with inedible fruits) by developing varieties with resistance to the deadly bacterial wilt disease.
     The new project led by IITA seeks to build national scientific capacity―both human and infrastructural―in Ethiopia to conduct biotechnology research on enset to develop varieties that are resistant to the bacterial wilt. It will also help policy makers put in place the necessary Biosafety policies and regulations needed to carry out such research. The four-year US$2.59 million project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project was officially launched by the Deputy Director of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR)

 Dr Adugna Wakjira, who noted that while enset was an important indigenous crop in the country enjoyed by nearly all Ethiopians, as there were many, diverse food products made from it, its production was greatly threatened by the banana bacterial wilt. “This project is very timely and relevant to the country as we have to use modern tools in addition to our traditional conventional breeding to solve his problem,” he said. Speaking on behalf of IITA, Victor Manyong noted the bacterial wilt was one of the diseases IITA was addressing as a priority due to the havoc it had caused on banana and enset, which are important staple and income crops for millions of smallholder farmers in Eastern Africa.

 He said IITA was honored to work with the Ethiopian researchers to tackle the problem. He also thanked the Gates Foundation for funding the project. Scientists from IITA and the National Research Organization (NARO), Uganda, have successfully transferred genes from sweet pepper resistant to the disease to some popular banana varieties in the country and they have shown very strong resistance to the disease in the lab, in screen houses, and in confined field trials. The genes plant ferredoxin-like amphipathic protein (Pflp) and hypersensitive response-assisting protein (Hrap) were acquired from Academia Sinica Taiwan through the African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF).

The project therefore seeks to work with Ethiopian researchers to transfer this technology to enset. “We have made great strides in banana transformation to develop varieties
resistant to the disease using genes from sweet pepper as there are no known sources of resistance in both banana and enset. We are keen to extend these technologies to enset at the request of the national scientists,” said Leena Tripathi, IITA Plant Biotechnologist who will lead the project.
“We look forward to building the capacity of our national researchers to conduct genetic engineering research and build capacity of policy makers to ensure all necessary policies are in place for such work,” said Belayneh Admassu, National Coordinator for Agricultural Biotechnology Research Program, EIAR and lead for the project on the Ethiopian side.

Researchers successfully grow “seed yams in the air”

L-R: Dr Maroya, Annang, Asiedu, Aighewi and members of the press at
 the unveiling of the new seed yam propagation technique in IITA Ibadan
Researchers at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have successfully grown seed yams in the air using aeroponics technology, raising hopes and more options for the propagation of virus- and disease-free planting materials.

In preliminary trials, Dr Norbert Maroya, Project Manager for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded “Yam Improvement for Incomes and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) project at IITA, together with a team of scientists successfully propagated yam by directly planting vine cuttings in Aeroponics System (AS) boxes to produce mini-tubers in the air.

Aeroponics System is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium. The technology is widely used by commercial potato seed producers in eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania etc.), and southern Africa (Mozambique, Malawi etc.) but successfully growing yam on aeroponics is a novelty for rapidly multiplying the much needed clean seed yam tubers in large quantities.

“With this approach we are optimistic that farmers will begin to have clean seed yams for better harvest,” Dr Maroya said on Friday.

Preliminary results showed that vine rooting in Aeroponics System had at least 95% success rate compared to vine rooting in carbonized rice husk with a maximum rate of 70%. Rooting time was much shorter in aeroponics.

Aeroponics is coming at an opportune time for African farmers. Traditionally, seed yam production is expensive and inefficient. Farmers save about 25 to 30% of their harvest for planting the same area in the following season, meaning less money in their pockets.

Moreover, these saved seeds are often infested with pathogens that significantly reduce farmers’ yield year after year.

However with an established Aeroponics System for seed yam propagation at the premises of an interested private investor, seed company or humanitarian nongovernmental organization; yam producers can have access to clean seed yams.

The soilless yam propagation system will increase the productivity of seed and ware yam and effectively reduce diseases and pests incidence and severity (no soil borne or vector-transmitted pests and diseases during the vegetative phase).

Dr Robert Asiedu, IITA Director for Western Africa described the results as “impressive.”

“Yam is an important crop in Africa and addressing the seeds’ constraint will go a long way in improving the livelihoods of farmers who depend on the crop for their livelihood,” he added.

In conducting the aeroponics trial, a special structure was built in an existing screen house with Dixon shelf frames using perforated styrofoam box, as support for plant vines, while the developing roots of the plants in the air were enclosed in conditions of total darkness to simulate the situation of soil to the roots. For the plant and tuber to develop, an automated power house system was established for atomizing periodically nutrient enriched water solution in the form of mist to feed the plants.