Yam dealers in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State are smiling to the bank as demand for the commodity increases. Yam is considered the most important staple food in West Africa, were seventy percent of total yam produced worldwide comes from, hence making the business a lucrative one.
In Ebonyi state, the most notable species of yam are locally called, igum, Abi, Utekpe, Nwopoke, Oko, Opebe, Ozibo, which are white and yellow yams as well as Mbana which is Water yam. Currently, the business of selling yam especially the seeds has started booming in different parts of Ebonyi State, following the recent rainfall in the area.
A yam dealer in Abakpa Main Market, Mr James Imo said that the price of yam seeds were higher this year compared to last year as a tuber formerly sold between one hundred and twenty naira to one hundred and fifty naira, now goes for between two hundred and two hundred and fifty naira.
Mr Imo expressed the hope that the business would appreciate as rainy season progresses. A farmer, Chief Michael Udenwe, explained that apart from buying yam seeds from the market, they also go to the local farmers to purchase from barns, stressing that a roll of yam cost between three thousand and five thousand naira depending on the species and sizes.
Chief Udenwe explained that the high cost of yam seeds could be attributed to the dwindling nation’s economy. A former Permanent Secretary in Ebonyi State Ministry of Agriculture and National Resources, Elder Steve Orogwo stressed the need for farmers to embark on early farming to ensure bumper harvest.