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Though growing yams may be quite diificult, but it may not be difficult as you may think. Below are 5 important secrets you will be needing for this business.

Nigeria is by far the world’s largest producer of yams, accounting for over 70–76 percent of the world production. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization report, in 1985, Nigeria produced 18.3 million tonnes of yam from 1.5 million hectares, representing 73.8 percent of total yam production in Africa According to 2008 figures, yam production in Nigeria has nearly doubled since 1985, with Nigeria producing 35.017 million metric tonnes with value equivalent of US$5.654 billion.In perspective, the world’s second and third largest producers of yams, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, only produced 6.9 and 4.8 tonnes of yams in 2008 respectively.

1. Planting Procedures

The usual planting time for white yam is March to April, depending on the time the tuber dormancy is broken, as indicated by the sprouting of tubers under storage and upon start of rain in a particular area. This means that you have to start the pre-sprouting process well ahead of the planting time, at least for 3 weeks.

2. Locate Suitable Farmland

Yams prefer growing in an upland and they should be planted in a well-drained field. Optimum yields are obtained from sandy loam and silt loam soil although acceptable yields are also obtained from clay loam soils, particularly those high in organic matter. While some yams does relatively well on stony soil, it is however not advisable to plant yam on stony hard soil.

Forest lands in most tropical region offers ideal environment for growing yam both in soil quality and climate conditions.

3. Preparation of Setts

Setts are whole tubers or tuber that is cut in pieces used for planting. If the tuber is small, it can be planted whole, but if it is big, it has to be cut in pieces to the size of 60g to 100g. As a rule, the bigger the sett used, the higher is the expected yield but shouldn’t be too big.

Setts should be taken from healthy tubers of healthy plants. Appropriate sett size are not sliced while larger tubers are sliced into the desired sett size so that each sett has sufficient skin surface area. Thus, four types of setts are obtained and are named according to their positions on the tuber as follows: head setts, middle setts and tail setts for the tuber pieces and whole setts for the whole tubers.

Cut sides of the setts are treated with ash or with fungicide and air dried. After air drying, setts are either pre-sprouted or planted directly.

4. Staking The Yam Vines

Plants are staked before vines start crawling on the ground. The recommended stake length is five to ten meters and a stake to every plant. Bamboo poles are the most desirable staking material, similar material that can support the yam vines for at least seven months can be used as stakes. 2 popular method of staking will be discussed below.

Trellis method. This stake setup is not very stable and requires more materials to support the stakes (posts and tie wire). However, weeding and hilling up operations using animal-drawn implements can be done easily under this setup.

Modified trellis method. Stakes formed in this manner provide stable support. With this method, ground spaces under the stake arch need not be weeded as the foliage becomes dense. However, weeding and hilling up operations that utilize animal-drawn implements cannot be done under the arches.

5. Mulching The Ridges

To reduce soil temperature, conserve soil moisture and suppress weed growth, it is preferable to mulch the field where the yams are planted. Dry coconut fronds, corn stalks, rice straw and other similar materials may be used as mulch. If rice straw or similar material that rot readily is used, the mulch is made thick (about 10 cm) so that it will not rot completely within four or five months.
Mulching tends to add some nutrient to the soil from the decaying materials used.

When these above tips are fully adhered to growing yams becomes as easy cooking it. Other needed requirement may be

  1. Weed Control

  2. Replanting  (For Dead Yams)

  3. Training The Yam Vines

  4. Fertilizer Application

  5. Covering Exposed Tubers

Going into yam business Could be beneficial, Do you know that the production of yam in Nigeria is substantially short and cannot meet the growing demand at its present level of use?  Yam has an important social status in gatherings and religious functions as well, imagine the amount of cash you will be racking in for yourself, owning your very own yam business.


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