The Expert Farmer’s Tips On How To Start Yam Business In Nigeria

October 14, 2021

How To Start Yam Business In Nigeria

Yam business is a very lucrative one and you can be making millions as a farmer. Yams are among the most consumed foods by Nigerians, both on family and industry levels.

There are a lot of our diets that have it as their raw materials, and the demand will continue to increase with every passing year.
Additionally, yam is a household foodstuff and has a pretty long shelf-life.

In this post I won't be talking about yam cultivation, pest control, purchasing of seedlings and other stuff, so it won't be a very bulky one.
We would be looking into that in subsequent articles.

What Is Yam?

Yam is the common name for some plant species in the genus Dioscorea (family Dioscoreaceae) that form edible tubers. They are widely domesticated in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

West Africa reportedly produces over 90% of the world's total supply of yams, and they play a huge role in food security, economic income, and traditional culture for the region.

What Are Yams Used For?

Yams are used for a lot of purposes, edible and non-edible. They form a major diet in the food and can be boiled, fried, made into pounded food, used for starch and a lot of other things.

Economically, the yam business serves as a major source of income for people who are into it.
According to Wikipedia, in 2019 alone the world production of yams was 74 million tonnes, led by Nigeria with about 68% of the total.

Introduction To Yam Business In Nigeria: How You Can Get Started

If there are consumers then, of course, there is a huge market opportunity. You do not need a degree to go into the business (sarcasm intended), and we'd be scanning through it now.

Now before you begin, you need to do a market survey to know the species of yams the people you are targeting mostly go for.
In Akwa Ibom State, for instance, Ogoja yam is the most patronized. Take your time to plan the business well, and if possible write a business plan.

There are two types of people when we come to the business:-

- The Wholesalers

They buy in large quantities and sell out in bulk. Some people call them dealers, and they buy directly from the farmers, at least from 1000 tubers.
Not everyone can afford to be a wholesaler, and you have to go early enough to purchase from the farmers, then sell off the same day to the next section of yam entrepreneurs - the retailers.

- The Retailers

These buy from the wholesalers and sell to you and me. They can get to stock for weeks, months or as long as they want, and sell off for better profits.

You can even retail different species of yams and sell them to people as per whichever they are interested in.

Where To Buy Yam Cheap In Nigeria

When it comes to sourcing for yams, there's really no place where it is cheaper all year round. The closer to farmers, the cheaper.
Some of the places you can get yams cheaper in Nigeria include:

- Benue State

Benue is not the food basket of the nation in vain. Yams are sold in batches of 100 called Kwarai.
Some of the markets where you can get them include Zaki Ibiam market, Gboko and Ugba International Yam markets.

- Federal Capital Territory

The Bwari market in Abuja is another place where you can get yams at very affordable prices. You can buy in bulk from the market and sell in other parts of the state and even beyond.

- Taraba State

Yams are also very affordable in Taraba State.
However considering transportation, you will have to purchase in larger quantities.

- Niger State

The Garatu Market in Minna is a very big one for yams. It is about a 5-minute drive from Federal University of Technology, Minna.
There are other markets like Serikin pawa, Kuta, Pwada and Beji markets. 

- Nasarawa State

Nasarawa State has places like Agyeragu market and yam store in Lafia. Yams are also much cheaper there.

- Oyo State

Yams are also cheap in Saki, Oyo State. It is one of the Yoruba states where you can actually get them, and they are available for bulk purchases too.

Transportation Of The Yams To Your Destination

This is not an issue, and there are standby transporters in the various markets. There are also internal transportations that you'll make, for instance, paying for wheelbarrow pushers and people who'll help in loading and offloading them.

How To Sell The Yams

First, you'll need a warehouse or store to keep them on arrival. Some dealers and retailers store for months, while others sell-off as soon as possible.

If it's (or is going to be) your major source of income, selling off immediately will be the best and you can go off to restock again.
You might need to join a union depending on the market where you are at. It will also help you to get information and protest as a team should need ever be.

How Profitable Is Yam Business?

The business is very profitable, depending on how much you invest. Sometimes you can sell up to double of what you purchased them, depending on how long you keep.

If you have a good warehouse, you can decide to keep them longer. Yams have a good shelf life and can last longer than most foodstuff.

How Much Is Needed To Start Yam Business?

I can't tell for straight how much you need. Anything from ₦20,000 to a few million can start it off, and the more capital you put in, the more your profit.

The money will also cover transportation and logistics, shop renting and more.

Yam Exportation In Nigeria: How To Get Started

Food exportation is a more serious and of course, lucrative business and we'll be talking about it in future posts.

However, some things you need to note include that you will need huge capital, you can go for loans as an entrepreneur.
You'll also need proper certification to attract customers outside. The products also have to meet international standards and will be packaged in cartons 20kg per carton.


The yam business is a very lucrative one and can be started with little capital. You can also consider getting mentored by someone who is already into the business, so you don't do things blindly.

Thanks a lot for reading along.
What do you think?

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