How To Start Yam Farming In Nigeria: The Complete Guide
Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of yams, with about 6 million metric tonnes of yams produced yearly. This volume serves the local population and is also exported to international buyers in many places around the world.
The abundance of the root crop in Nigeria drives strong messages on its importance in the local society, its production capacity, and its strong prospect for growing a global trade business through yam exportation to various countries.
While the yam crop is a staple meal with over 70% of the world’s demand coming from West Africa and Nigeria producing the single world’s largest volume, venturing into the yam farming business in Nigeria can be a profitable investment to make.
What Is The Yam Farming Business About?
The yam farming business is the cultivation of the yam crop for consumption and processing in local and international markets.
Business Opportunities In The Yam Farming Business Around The World
1). Source of Food:
Yams can be boiled or fried and then eaten without any further processing involved. This being its primary use makes it a top wanted commodity as so many African homes consume yams on a daily basis.
2). Yam Flour:
Yam flour is a processed yam powder that can be used for various purposes, especially in the preparation of quick meals like amala and pounded yam, instead of having to go through intense stress.
Facts And Benefits Of The Yam Farming Business
- Yams have been cultivated as early as 8,000 B.C. in Asia.
- The annual world production of yams is over 30 million tons.
- Yams are a good source of vitamin C.
- Yam is the common name for some plant species in the genus Dioscorea.
- Yam is a good source of energy.
- About 70% to 76% of the world’s yam production is from Nigeria.
- The world’s second and third largest producers of yams are Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
- The largest producer of yam in Nigeria is Benue State.
- Yam takes a minimum of 14 weeks to mature.
- Yam tuber yields per hectare can be up to or more than 21 tons per hectare.
How To Start Yam Farming In Nigeria: Step By Step Guide
1). Locate A Suitable Farmland For Yam Farming:
The farmland chosen should be an upland with a well-drained field because Yams prefer to grow in those terrains. It should also have sandy loam and silt loam soil, as maximum yam yields can be gotten from them, even though clay loam soils with organic matter can also be very effective.
2). Prepare The Farmland For Planting:
The first step to preparing the farmland for yam planting is to clear the surrounding bushes just in time for planting before the rainy season begins, which is best around February and April.
As soon as the farmland has been cleared, you should go on to loosen the soil and make ridge beds of about a height of one meter and a space of one meter away from each other.
3). Prepare The Setts For Planting:
After the land preparation, the setts, which are the healthy tubers of healthy plants that will be used for the planting can then be prepared by either cutting them into smaller pieces of between 50g to 120g or by anticipating to plant them as whole tubers without reducing their sizes, because the larger the sett is, the larger the prospective yield will be.
The sett used that are either sliced or not, are in four categories namely: head setts, middle setts, tail setts and whole setts for the whole tubers. After the setts are cut, their exposed areas are then treated with a fungicide or ash before being dried with air, after which they’re then either planted directly or pre-sprouted.
4). Planting & Weed Control:
The planting of your yams should start within the period of March and April, just before the rainy season starts. With the land already prepared, you’d be required to plant about 10,000 setts for half an hectare of land.
How often a yam farm will be weeded depends ultimately on the rate at which weed grows, the use of mulch, and the use of pre-sprouted setts. If the field is mulched and the setts that are used are pre-sprouted setts, then weeding could be done two months apart.
5). Harvesting The Yam Crops:
The yams can be harvested when their foliage begins to dry up or turn yellow. This period can usually be from November until February. But while harvesting, some of the tubers would be set aside as setts for replanting in the following season, while others which would have been harvested earlier would be instead be sold for commercial purposes.
6). Marketing the Yam Crops:
After harvesting the yam crops, the next step is to go on to market the product. In this previously published article, we explained a plethora of ways to market your farm products. In the link below, we also mention a couple of ways to market your yam products to international buyers.
Challenges Of The Yam Farming Business
- Lack of experience.
- Pest and diseases
- Low and unstable investment in agricultural research.
- Financial challenges.
- Marketing challenges.
- Weed control.
- High cost of production.
- Low consumer purchasing power.
- Poorly managed supply chain.
Yam farming in Nigeria can be a Lucrative and profitable venture, due partly to its vast market demands and largely on your own ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a part agribusiness to venture into, yam farming in Nigeria is another option to explore.
What are your thoughts on how to start yam farming in Nigeria? Let me know by leaving a comment below.