Yam supply is a farming business that really pays dividends and is worth the investment if cultivated on a large scale. Research shows that if yam is planted on a 600m by 600m piece of land, it will produce yam worth N12,000,000 which is equivalent to $55,000+ at the rate of $1+ each.
In some parts of Nigeria, yam is so important and has special meaning to certain people such that a special festival is marked once a year to celebrate the fresh yams coming out. And aside from this, people venture into yam farming business in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa because of the profit potentials they’ve found in it. And more than 65% of the overall yam harvested throughout the world emanates from this part of the world.
For anyone leveraging the business opportunity, the season comes once a year and it has to be cultivated following the season. Aside from earning huge profits in cultivating yam on a large scale, it can be exported to other countries.
There is no country where yam is not found, whereas, it’s a crop that is cultivated in West Africa, mostly in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Ghana. Yam is exported to the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Italy and the rest of the world. It’s reported that Nigeria is the largest producer of yam, Ivory Coast follows while Ghana does the exportation the most among the West African countries.
How to Start Yam Supply, Farming Business in Nigeria (2019 Beginners Guide)
Here are the basic steps to be followed by those who are preparing to go extra miles this year in starting yam farming business:
- Get a compatible piece of land for the yam farming business
- Prepare the land for the cultivation
- Prepare the setts
- Follow the planting procedures
- Mulch the ridges
- Replace the dead yams
- Stake the plants before vines begin to crawl on the ground
- Apply fertilizer
- Prevent tubers from greening
- Harvest the yam.
Get a Compatible Piece of Land for the Yam Farming Business
The best yields grow from silt and sandy loam soil while the averagely-accepted yam tubers grow from clay soils. Experience shows that some yam tubers grow well on the hard soil, though it’s not ideal to plant yam on this type of soil.
Lands in the forest give the best environment for growing yam both in climatic conditions and in the quality of the soil.
Prepare the Land for the Cultivation
Latest by the first month of the year, the land must be fully prepared for the planting. The bush must be cleared and the dry grasses must be burnt at the normal time before the rainy season begins fully.
The most ideal time for planting yam begins from the month of February when rain has not yet started falling heavily.
Prepare the Setts
Setts are the big tubers that are first broken into smaller pieces before the planting is done at all. Though setts may be planted whole if they are not too big, the planting guideline is that setts must not be too big and mustn’t be too small as the size determines the yields. The bigger the setts planted, the higher the yam yields that should be expected at harvest, but these should be taken from the sound and healthy yam tubers.
Follow the Planting Procedures
The pre-sprouting should have begun at least three weeks ahead of the normal planting time. So, it follows that the normal planting time should be around March and April.
The area difference between the planted yams should be about 1m2 while the height should be about 10.5cm.
Mulch the Ridges
The normal time to do the mulching of the ridges should be after the planting. The growth of the weed is suppressed while the moisture of the soil is conserved to decrease the temperature of the soil.
To prevent the soil from losing moisture excessively and for the farming of yam to go normal, the mulching is very crucial for its job of ensuring that much nutrient is added to the soil.
Replace the Dead Yam
Due to the fact that some setts might not be pre-sprouted before the planting, some degree of mortality should be expected particularly in the white yam. Thus, the replanting of the dead yams should be done two months to the time of initial planting.
Because vines are naturally made to begin crawling when they grow to a certain stage, so it would be necessary to stake some plants and the normal length of the stakes should each be 6m to 10m.
Stake the Plants before Vines Begin to Crawl on the Ground
Stakes are built before the vines start crawling on the ground. Thus, vines are trained to start climbing their respective stakes the moment they are about crawling on the ground. The white guinea yams are said to twine to the left while the water yam vines are said to twine to the right.
Apply the Fertilizer
Before the amount of fertilizer to be added and the level of the soil fertility can be determined, samples of the soil must be submitted first to an Institute of Agriculture for assessment, evaluation, examination, and analysis.
The attention of the Local Farm Management Technician must equally be sought as touching this. The recommended amount of inorganic fertilizer is broken into two, the first half being applied within a month and the other half being applied after two months of applying the first one.
Prevent Tubers from Greening
As some tubers may become exposed to the sun due to heaving, greening could set in and in order for this to be prevented from happening, the exposed tubers must be covered with the soil.
Harvest the Yam
Normally, the drying up of the foliage begins towards the end of November and this continues till the second month of the year following.
Before the vine is cut from the base, a hoe is used to dig deeply around the yam tuber so that it becomes loosened from the soil and then the tuber can be removed easily.
For the yam tubers planted deeply in the clay soil, a shovel may be used to dig around. And for yam tubers planted in sandy soil, a sharpened sturdy stick may be used to dig the tubers out.