No doubt, an unavailability of yams in the market may starve a wide range of African families. For inestimable reasons, the intensive production of yam is overtly one of the most rewarding farm businesses in Africa.
Yam is one of the most important and common food staples in majority of African meals. It comes in various forms. Prominent among these are pounded yam, porridge, fried yam , yam with vegetables and lots more.
Interestingly, yam offers numerous nutritional and health benefits. Its complex carbohydrates and fiber slows the rate at which sugars are released and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Economically, the demand for yams is huge which makes it a lucrative venture, if well managed. In addition, it could also be considered for exportation to other countries, which in turn serves as a means of foreign exchange.
Today in some parts of Nigeria, the yam symbolizes wealth and cultural ideals. History affirms that the wealth of an average Igbo man in Nigeria is measured by the quantity of yams he has harvested. However, it is so unfortunate that this narrative has changed due to poor perception.
Among its peers in West Africa, Ghana is the third largest yam producer after Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. Conversely, in terms of exportation, Ghana accounts for over 94 percent of total yam exports in West Africa, placing it ahead of others countries.
The aforementioned demand answers to the following questions:;
What exactly are the economic benefits of yam production in Nigeria?
How come Nigeria is the largest producer of yams in West Africa but Ghana is the largest exporter of yams in that same region ?
Nigeria and Ivory Coast’s eyes are still blind to the opportunities that exist in their hands. About 90 percent of Ghana’s yams are exported to the US, the UK and the Netherlands.
It is trite to note that with the standard recommended spacing of one meter apart, a 100 -square-meter yam ridge holds 100 yams. In the same vein, 500 by 500 meters would conveniently yield 50,000 tubers of yam in a year. Consequently, the 50,000 tubers of yam could amount to N10 million in a year.
As regards production, the cultivation of 500 by 500 meters of yams will require N3-4 million as startup capital. But after harvesting and with a good marketing strategy, N10 million could be made from this, with a profit of N6 million in a year. Why would you prefer to languish in poverty and hardship when there is viable opportunity in yam farming? From this analysis, the economic benefits make it a viable crop production enterprise.