Yam is consumed almost everywhere in the world, but this particular food is considered popular in Africa. In Nigeria, yam farming was what sustained the economy until oil was discovered.
In Nigeria, Yam farming is cultivated and popular in almost every state of the country as farmers who engage in this kind of farming either sell their yams for money or use it for feeding.
Either ways, Yam farming business is a lucrative one which is sure to yield you profit (Nigeria infopedia.com, 2018).
I wonder why we keep overlooking this very important farming business opportunity.
Five hundred by five hundred meters size of farmland could yield you 50,000 tubers of yam which is valued at N10 million ($50,000) at one dollars per yam.
This is a golden opportunity for any serious farmer who would like to take advantage of this season to cultivate yam in large quantity.
Apart from selling locally, yam can be exported to the United States of America, United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Germany, and even Japan.
While Nigeria is the major producer of yam in the world followed by Ivory Coast, Ghana is in the other hand the major exporter of yams, accounting for over 90% of total yams exported from West Africa annually (Wealthresult.com, 2018).
Production and the use efficiency of inputs usually decline with increased input quantities, because costs increase and the biological or physiological use efficiency eventually levels out or decline.
Most yams are grown after long bush fallow leading to high cost for land clearing, subsequent nutrient losses at biomass burning, labor intensive tillage and mounding and costs related to the procurement of stakes.
Furthermore, seed yams are expensive and often of poor quality and, later on during the season, weed control, prevention of rodent damage and theft are additional cost factors in the production chain of yam.
To increase the long-term profitability of yam production, it is thus important to determine which of the major production factors can contribute to sustainable yield increases without compromising the natural resource base.
In Nigeria, an average ware yam price would be 30 naira/kg at harvest time, whereas purchasing seed at planting could typically cost three times more, 90 Naira/kg (about US$0.56/kg).
If the farmer instead uses own, stored seed the cost would be equal to the lost revenue for not selling it as ware yam, i.e. 30 Naira/kg (about US$0.19/ kg).
Applying those numbers to the yields obtained at different yam densities and with or without intercropping with maize, shows that the seed cost has a stronger impact on the profitability.
The monocrop system using stored seed yam attained the highest revenue at medium plant density (22 222 plants per hectare) under the given conditions.
The potential of intercropping should however further be explored in terms of optimal proportions, arrangements, and timing of planting of the companion crops, and even plant architecture of the varieties of the two crops (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.org, 2014)
Compiled by Damilola Omotoyinbo
Nigeria Infopedia.com (2018). Yam Farming Business In Nigeria: Guide on How To Start. Retrieved from https://www.nigerianinfopedia.com/yam-farming-business-in-nigeria-guide-start/ Last updated 2018.
Wealthresult.com (2018). How To Start Yam Farming In Nigeria (Beginners Guide). Retrieved from https://www.wealthresult.com/agriculture/start-yam-farming-beginners-guide. Last updated 2018.
(IITA), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.org (2014). Maximizing Profitability of Yam Production. Retrived from http://wpar12.iita.org/?p=1482. Last updated