Yam is considered the most important food staple in West Africa where 70% of the total yams produced worldwide comes from. Every year, festivals and rituals are carried out in different parts of the region to mark the arrival of the new yam. In Nigeria, Yam farming is cultivated and popular in almost every state of the country and is a lucrative one which is sure to yield your profit. Here is how to start yam farming in Nigeria.
How To Start Yam Farming In Nigeria
1. Get Farmland
The farmland chosen should be an upland with a well-drained field because Yams prefer to grow in those terrains. It should also have sandy loam and silt loam soil, as maximum yam yields can be gotten from them, even though clay loam soils with organic matter can also be very effective.
2. Preparation Of Setts
Setts are whole tubers or tuber that is cut in pieces used for planting. As a rule, the bigger the sett used, the higher is the expected yield but shouldn’t be too big, else, you will be wasting resources. Setts should be taken from healthy tubers of healthy plants. Appropriate sett size is not sliced while larger tubers are sliced into the desired sett size so that each sett has sufficient skin surface area.
3. Plant and Weed
The planting of your yams should start within the period of March and April, just before the rainy season starts. With the land already prepared, you’d be required to plant about 10,000 setts for half a hectare of land. How often a yam farm will be weeded depends ultimately on the rate at which weed grows, the use of mulch, and the use of pre-sprouted setts.
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4. Replanting (Replacing Dead Yams)
Some amount of sett mortality can be expected, particularly in white Guinea yam when non-pre-sprouted setts are used for planting. Thus replanting is done, usually about two months after the original planting.
Hills with no sprouts are checked to see if there are rotten setts which should be removed and replaced with new ones. Unsprouted setts that did not rot should not be replaced because they still can produce sprouts later on.
The yams can be harvested when their foliage begins to dry up or turn yellow. This period can usually be from November until February.
But while harvesting, some of the tubers would be set aside as setts for replanting in the following season, while others which would have been harvested earlier would be instead be sold for commercial purposes.
After harvesting the yam crops, the next step is to go on to the market the product. In this previously published article, we explained a plethora of ways to market your farm products.