Yam Farming is one of the most profitable agricultural businesses in Nigeria that anyone can venture into. This article contains the step-by-step process of how to start a profitable yam farming business in Nigeria.
How Profitable is Yam Farming in Nigeria?
Being one of the staple food grown in West Africa, Yam has a huge market as it is consumed almost everywhere in Africa. Not only that, there is a readily available market for yam in the US, UK, Japan, Netherlands, France, Germany, and many other countries. Hence, you can export yam or sell it locally which makes yam farming in Nigeria lucrative and profitable.
Yam is a common grocery item and is also notable as one of the export products in Nigeria that has richly blessed the economy of the country.
In addition, Nigeria is blessed with arable soils and a good climate which makes farming easier. Thus, venturing into yam farming is profitable once you know the ropes of the business. That being said, below are step-by-step instructions on how to start yam farming in Nigeria.
Steps to Start a Profitable Yam Farming in Nigeria
Like Pawpaw farming, running a successful yam farm requires a lot of skills and knowledge. Also, there are many factors you need to consider before starting a yam farm.
You need to consider the soil to use, yam planting season, capital, equipment, and other necessary tools. That is why we have taken our time to list all you need to start yam farming in Nigeria.
1. Land Preparation
In farming, land preparation is the first step in planting any crop including Yam. Therefore, it is important to prepare the land you wish to use for your yam farm before the planting season.
You can prepare the land or soil by clearing the grasses and leaving them to dry up before planting your yam. Also, bear in mind that yam grows better on silt loam and sandy loam soil than on other types of soil because it is rich in organic matter. Thus, ensure you pick the right land and soil for your yam farm to make healthy produce.
Furthermore, yam grows well in upland and well-drained areas which makes it necessary to prepare ridges or beds before planting. Ensure the ridge beds measurement should be at least 1m apart and 4 to 5 inches high. In case your land is sloppy, the ridges should be made using common farm tools, according to the contour of the land to avoid erosion.
2. Seed/Sett Preparation
After the preparation of the land, the next step is Sett preparation. Yam Sett or Seeds are pieces of yam tubers that are planted into the soil to grow yams. So, it is very important to use a healthy yam Sett if you want a productive yam farm.
Also, you need to consider the size, it should not be too small for the yam to grow healthily. Neither should it be too big to avoid wasting resources. Although, you can plant a whole yam Sett if it is small but it is advisable to cut it to smaller sizes. You can cut the yam horizontally from head to tail into different sizes.
Treating Sett with fungicides and white ash on fresh surfaces helps to reduce attacks from microbes. Also, pre-sprouting helps to reduce weeds making it easier to run a healthy yam farm in Nigeria.
3. Planting of Yam
The next step after preparing your soil and Sett is the planting of the yam seeds. Every plant has its planting season, and so does the yam. Depending on when it starts raining in the year, you can plant your yam between February and April. When planting the yam Sett, it is advisable to lay it upside down and horizontally for it to grow healthily.
Also, the number of yams to be planted depends on your capability and land size. For instance, you can plant between 20,000 to 27,000 Setts on a hectare of land. However, a 100 by 100 plot of land is capable of producing close to 200 tubers of yam if well cultivated.
4. Weeding and Other Maintenance
To grow healthy yams, you need to eliminate weeds from your farm to avoid them competing with the yams for nutrients. Hence, weeding is important in cultivating a yam farm in Nigeria. Depending on the types of Sett you planted, you should perform weeding on your farm 2 to 4 times before harvesting.
Apart from weeding, restocking dead yam Setts with new ones is important as well as irrigation, mulching, staking, and application of manure. Practicing all of these together improves the chances of yams growing healthily.
The next step in starting a yam farm in Nigeria is harvesting. It is an annual crop that takes up to a year before harvesting. For instance, if you plant your yam in February, you may have to wait another year before harvesting.
Also, once you start seeing the yam stalks and leaves turning yellow, it shows that the yam is ready for harvests. However, it is not advisable to allow the leaves and stalks to turn yellow and dry up before harvesting especially if you are selling them.
6. Preservation and Selling
No doubt, cultivating a yam farm in Nigeria does not end with harvesting. You need to preserve it in a barn before getting customers to supply it.
Getting customers for your yam is quite easy as it has a ready market. All you need is to visit the markets to know yam prices and inform yam sellers, restaurants, and any other potential customers.
How to Plant Yam in Nigeria
No doubt, starting a yam farm in Nigeria is profitable if it is done in the right way. With as little as N200,000 to N500,000, you can start a yam farm in Nigeria as long as you have the required knowledge and land to start with.
Hence, starting yam farming in Nigeria would not be difficult if you followed the above-mentioned steps.
FAQs on Yarm Farming in Nigeria
How long does it take yam to grow in Nigeria?
It takes between 10 – 12 months for yams to fully mature, after which they can be harvested. Even as an annual crop, some farmers prefer to extend the growing time of their yams, so they can market them as late harvests.
Other yam varieties also take longer to mature.
What is the best month to plant yam?
Yam farming in Nigeria usually comes up between February till April
How many days does it take yam to sprout?
You would start noticing the yam sprouts around the sixth week.
Which state in Nigeria has the best yam?
Taraba state is known to be the top yam-producing region in Nigeria
Where is yam cheap in Nigeria?
Yams are cheap in Taraba, Niger, and Benue but expensive in Lagos, Delta, and Port Harcourt
Where is the biggest yam market in Nigeria?
Zaki Biam in North Central Benue State is the largest market for Yam in Nigeria.
We hope you found our article on how to start yam farming in Nigeria helpful.