Yam improvement for processing (YIP) Nigeria

Overview

From December 2013 to March 2014, Sahel Capital Partners & Advisory completed a study of the yam value chain in Nigeria with a focus on processing activities in order to identify robust and sustainable intervention strategies to accelerate yam processing for the BMGF team to consider.

Key Findings

Nigeria is the largest producer of yam in the world, with approximately 38 million tonnes generated in 2012 (FAOSTAT, 2014), representing approximately 65% of the world’s total yam production. However, the yam value chain is highly fragmented, dominated by smallholder farmers who generate lower yam yields relative to international best practices. This is largely due to limited use of improved seeds, fertilizer and crop protection products, and high incidents of pests and diseases. Post-harvest losses are estimated at between 20-30% depending on the variety of the yam and most yam is consumed in its fresh form. White yam varieties, with traditional names such as Ada Onitsha, Amula and Abuja yam are the preferred yam varieties for consumption and processing. However, they are expensive. Water yam appears to be cost effective and available during the off season, but it is often viewed as inferior.

Relative to other crops such as cassava, there is limited yam processing in both the formal and informal sectors. There are over ten yam processing companies operating in the Nigerian landscape whose products consist of yam flour and poundo yam; however, apart from Ayoola, the others operate relatively small scale operations. In addition, they are concentrated in Lagos and have some presence in other parts of Nigeria. Informal processors are linked to farm families and process yam into chips and yam flour.

Most processors cannot find consistent and affordable sources of high-quality fresh yam, and have limited access to working and expansion capital, training and links to appropriate technology. They also struggle to complete National Agency for Food & Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC) registration requirements and to gain access to markets.

Until recently the value chain received limited attention from the government at the federal, state and local government levels, research institutions and civil society organizations. However, with the emergence of the Gates Funded, Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA), this is changing.

In order to enhance yam processing in Nigeria, the Sahel team has identified a few ideas for BMGF to consider. They include:

  • Strengthening the capacity of federal agencies to develop and standardize yam processing equipment and to train existing and potential processors
  • Engaging with targeted state governments to create comprehensive yam value chain strategies with policies for farmer linkages and processing
  • Creating broad-based consumer awareness through campaigns to drive interest in and demand for processed yam products
  • Strengthening the capacity and efficiency of regulatory agencies such as NAFDAC and SON to support registration, and track and sanction mislabeling
  • Enhancing the capacity of informal processors and linking them with markets
April 1, 2014
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