Meet the 33 Years Old Growing Yams and Potatoes in the Air and of Course Without Sand

Ogbole Samson, a 33 years old Nigerian cultivated yam tubers and potatoes in the air and without sand. This technique may not be new in developed countries but it is new and amazing to most Nigerians.

Ogbole Samson is a biochemistry graduate from Igbinedion University is currently running a master programme in biochemistry (specialty in drug metabolism and toxicology) at the University of Ibadan and also currently running a Common Wealth of Nations MBA at the National Open University of Nigeria.

He works with Yam Improvement for Income and Food security in West Africa (YIIFSWA), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo state of Nigeria, where he grows plants without the use of soil – and grows them in the air/misty environment instead, through a process referred to as Aeroponics.

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Samson, having found passion and purpose in aeroponics and wishes to train farmers, set-up and help maintain the aeroponics system on a small and large-scale for vegetables, flowers and fruits in Nigeria.

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What is Aeroponics?

According to Wikipedia, Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate media (known as geoponics). Aeroponic culture differs from both conventional hydroponics, aquaponics, and in-vitro (plant tissue culture) growing.

Unlike hydroponics, which uses a liquid nutrient solution as a growing medium and essential minerals to sustain plant growth; or aquaponics which uses water and fish waste, aeroponics is conducted without a growing medium. Because water is used in aeroponics to transmit nutrients, it is sometimes considered a type of hydroponics.

Twitter Campaign

Samson wanted the world to know what he was doing. He sent out the simple tweet that went viral. He got numerous retweets, commendations and questions. Samson took time to answer every question asked by those who evidently could not hide their amazement.

The questions that were asked came from young people. They were intelligent questions that reflected their interests and concerns. Samson answered each question, dishing out answers rich in hand-on and practical knowledge.

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Some Questions that Were Asked and Answers

@berri_licious why? What is the point? Will a human carry an oxygen tank around when they can breathe perfectly? Please explain.

@samsonprolific in the air, pathogen/diseases free which are present in the soil, (Air is free of pathogen or disease-causing pathogens, which are present in soil.) [Farmers can] plant anytime of the year, anywhere, [with] less water usage. [So there is] no need for pesticide. Plant grows faster, high flavonoids produced, no dirt, no need for weeding, set up is once unlike traditional farming. You can plant close to the market even inside a warehouse or hall and get good product. You can do organic growing also. The system is automated thus anyone can operate it with minimal maintenance skills. It is scalable to any size. Benefits outweighs planting in the soil economically, health and environmentally. aeroponics also outweighs hydroponics.

@samsonprolific it (aeroponics) is cheap e.g. 3m by 1m aeroponics can produce 8000 lettuce plants; [the] system is cheap to maintain and setup…

@MR_COLLINSLFC …but it is chemical…

@samsonprolific you can choose organic or inorganic growing. Traditional farming in the soil uses fertilizers (chemicals) for the soil but with aeroponics even if you decide to use inorganic (chemicals), you use 95% less than in [growing in] the soil.

@samsonprolific …less fertilizer is used e.g. 500-700g inorganic fertilizer in 1000 litres of water for 2000 plants for a month. So a farmer will use 1 bag of 25kg for 3 years and 6 months approximately on aerophonics.

@uddy_or I have looked at the clip over and over…..have you done any analysis on why the yams are a bit small?

@samsonprolific 3 months old! They can be bigger. Traditionally, farmers make heap to determine length of yam, once the yam [tuber] touches the soil not the heap, but real soil level), the tuber is not able to penetrate the soil so it stops getting long and starts getting big…the box is quite high (1m) and thus the yam will have to touch the bottom of the box before it starts getting big…aside the fact it was harvested at 3 months. Initial plan was to produce seed yams (5-100g) size but with vine cutting tech in 6 months about 13000 vines were cut which gave variable sizes of yam {tubers] from seed (planting) to ware yam {tubers] (eating)…a cob of corn for the maize farmer can get 50-100 maize plant, with the aeroponic system, a tuber can give…a tuber of yam can be multiplied using aeroponics to get over 50,000 tubers annually.

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Ogbole Samson is doing a good job and should be supported by everyone and the government. Africa needs more young people engaged in developmental projects like this. Africa can feed herself if we invest in Agritech. Youths are attracted to Agritech like this. All they need is funding and enabling environment.

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7 thoughts on “Meet the 33 Years Old Growing Yams and Potatoes in the Air and of Course Without Sand

  1. Pingback: Combating Good Seed-Yam Shortage in Nigeria with Aeroponics | SciTech Africa

  2. Pingback: Agritech: How New Technologies are Improving Agriculture in Africa | SciTech Africa

  3. Pingback: Researchers Have Deciphered the Complete Sequence of a Major Crops in Africa—the White Yam | SciTech Africa

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