Yam Farming in Nigeria – An Ultimate Guide
Yam farming is the cultivation of yam from the initial step of land preparation to the final steps of harvesting the yam tubers, storage and marketing. Yam farming involves all the steps needed for a farmer to sow the yam cuts or seeds in the soil till the last step of harvesting the tuber.
Yam is a tuber crop popularly grown in Nigeria. The largest growers of yam in Nigeria are the farmers in the central states of Nigeria like Benue state, Nasarawa state, Taraba state and Abuja.
Steps to take to start Yam farming in Nigeria
The following are the steps to plant yam in Nigeria:
- Farmland or Site Selection
- Climatic Requirements
- Soil Suitable for Yam Farming
- Soil Preparation
- Yam Variety to Plant
- Equipment to Use for Yam Farming
- Planting of the Yam Seeds
- Weed Control
- Fertilizer and Manure Management
- Management of Pests and Diseases
1) Farmland or Site Selection
The site or farmland to be used for yam farming should have good soil. There should also be a good access road to the farmland for the easy evacuation of the farm produce.
The site should have abundant sunshine and tropical climatic condition as Yam can only grow well in tropical conditions.
2) Climatic Requirements
Yam is a tropical crop. It can only do well in areas that are warm with abundant sunshine. Yam will not do well in cold areas.
Yam crop prefers a lot of sunlight. It also needs a warm weather condition. The more the sun, the better the yield of the crop.
3) Soil Suitable for Yam Farming
Yam prefers sandy loamy soil as this the most suitable type of soil for its growth. The soil should also have a well-draining capacity. Pure sandy soil and clay soil are not suitable for the growing of yam.
The soil pH should be 5.0 – 7.5. Soil that is too acidic should not be used for the growing of Yam. Soil that has a high alkaline content should also be avoided.
4) Soil Preparation
Bulldozers should be used to remove trees from heavily forested farmland. Care should be taken so that the top soil will not be removed. Manual labourers can also be used for deforestation; however, this will take a lot of time.
Ploughing, harrowing and ridging should also be done. Several rounds of ploughing may be done so that the soil will have a good structure. Ridging may also be done, though this is not compulsory.
5) Choosing the Yam Variety to Plant
There are different varieties of yam in Nigeria. There are the Gboko yam, Zaki Ibiam yam, Onitsha yam and Ebira yam etc.
6) Equipment to Use for Yam Farming
The following equipment can be used for Yam farming
- Farm House
- Power Tiller
- Earth Augers
- Weeders etc.
Yam does well under irrigation. We conducted a research on the effects of drip irrigation on yam farming; it was revealed that drip irrigation can increase the yield of yam crop by 96%.
The following are the types of irrigation that can be used for Yam farming in Nigeria:
- Drip Irrigation
- Sprinkler Irrigation
- Furrow Irrigation
- Spray Tube Irrigation etc.
8) Planting of the Yam Seeds or Cuts
You have to dissect the yam tuber into small cuts with the peels intact. These yam cuts should be treated with pesticides, some farmers use wood ash. The yam cut should be planted in heaps with the tip planted upwards.
Tissue culture yam setts can also be used for yam farming.
9) Weed Control
Herbicides can be used for weed management in a yam farm. The herbicides to be used must be the type that will not affect the growth of the yam plant. Tools like cutlasses, hoes, mechanized weeders and tillers can also be used for weeding in yam farms.
10) Fertilizer and Manure Management
Yam is a heavy feeder; it needs a lot of nutrients to grow well. The ideal fertilizers for yam farming include NPK 15:15:15, NPK 12:12:17 and SSP (to be used at the initial stage of planting).
Calcium nitrate and potassium nitrate fertilizers should be used during the stage of tuber initiation. These fertilizers can significantly increase the yield of the yam crop.
A soil test is advised to be done before the application of any type of fertilizer.
11) Management of Pests and Diseases
Pesticides like insecticides, fungicides, bactericides and nematicides etc. should be used to prevent and manage pests and diseases in yam farms. Pesticides can help yam farmers to assure good yield in Yam farming.
Pesticides like Belt Expert, Decis, Ampligo and Tihan etc. can be used to manage pests and diseases in Yam farms.
Harvesting starts within 90 – 120 days after the sowing of the seeds. Harvesting of the yam tubers in Nigeria is usually done by hand. However, mechanized tools can be used for the harvesting of the tubers.
Harvested tubers are usually stored in barns or in a cool dry place before they are sold in the market. Yam tubers can also be processed into yam flour.
Cost to Start a One Hectare Yam Farm in Nigeria
The cost to start a one hectare yam farm is detailed below:
- Rent of one hectare farmland: ₦20,000
- Clearing, Ploughing and Harrowing: ₦50,000
- Yam Cuts/Seeds: ₦100,000
- Planting: ₦50,000
- Irrigation: ₦300,000 – ₦650,000 (Optional)
- Fertilizers and Manure: ₦50,000 – ₦200,000 (Depending on soil fertility)
- Pesticides: ₦30,000
- Others: ₦150,000
Yam Sack Farming
Yam sack farming is the growing of yam in sacks. This is a new concept of yam farming in Nigeria. With yam sack farming, you can grow yam in your backyard, rooftop, garden and other places.
With yam sack farming, you can harvest a lot of yam tubers from a small place. Yam sack farming can be done in urban areas.
FAQ on Yam Farming
a) Question: Where can I buy high yielding and early maturing Yam varieties in Nigeria?
Answer: You can buy good and high yielding yam varieties from yam growing communities in Nasarawa and Benue State. You can also buy in a local market near you. We can also supply yam cuts to you.
b) Question: What type of irrigation can be used for Yam farming?
Answer: Drip irrigation, flood irrigation, spray tube irrigation and sprinkler irrigation can be used for the growing of Yam.
c) Question: Is Yam farming profitable?
Answer: Yes, yam farming can be hugely profitable if all the agronomic protocols are observed.
d) Question: When is the peak time for the price of Yam in Nigeria?
Answer: The dry season months of November to March is the peak time for the price of Yam in Nigeria. This is due to the scarcity of Yam during this period.
e) Question: What is the average yield of Yam?
Answer: The average yield of Yam per hectare is 30 -100 tons.
f) Question: What fertilizers are good for Yam farming in Nigeria?
Answer: NPK fertilizers, muriate of potash, calcium nitrate and potassium nitrate fertilizer.
Should you need any information on yam farming in Nigeria, kindly contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read our latest article on the best month to plant yam.