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How to Start Yam Business in Nigeria



Yam Business in Nigeria

After reading this article you will be able to start a yam business in Nigeria and be able to make profits from the business within a short while. In our past articles, we have talked about so many food businesses in Nigeria that any Nigerian youth that is passionate about business can go into.

All these food businesses are businesses that can be started with small capital to food businesses that require a big capital. But just for easy finding in case you want to expand your knowledge, I will list them below.

So far on the blog, we have explained:

1. Beans business in Nigeria

2. Frozen foods business in Nigeria

3. Fruit business in Nigeria

4. Elubo/Yam flour business in Nigeria

And more. Today, we will be talking about how to start a yam business in Nigeria whether with a small capital or big capital, and make tremendous profit. Yam is a very common staple food in Nigeria that is a source of carbohydrate and sometimes it is often replaced with rice.

Asides from it being loved for being the perfect substitute for rice it is also cherished because one of Nigeria’s major swallow food (pounded yam) can be gotten from it. Yam can also be used to cook other foods like yam soup, and porridge (pottage) and it can also be fried or roasted to get a different taste.

However, it is never enough for everyone because it is not always in season (the time of plentiful). When yam is in season (just harvested), it is always plenty thus making it affordable at reasonable prices for buyers, sellers, and even consumers but when it is scarce (out of season) it is usually expensive.

There are different breeds of yams. We have the yams that are usually yellowish in color when you peel them. We also have the ones that are brownish in color when peeled and the usual white ones. Yam can also vary in size according to their species. While some can be very big, others can be moderate, and some can be small.

We also water yam, cocoyam, and the like but we are not talking about them now. Maybe we will talk about this on other topics.

Is Yam Business Profitable?

Yes, yam business in Nigeria can be profitable especially if you know what you doing and you are tactical in your approach to the business but asides from this I can give more reasons why yam business can be a profitable business base on my findings. The number one reason why it is profitable in Nigeria is that all Nigerians need yam and they eat yam.

Often when rice is expensive, especially in rural areas, many Nigerians replace their rice – a source of carbohydrates with yam. So it is one of the foods that cannot be pushed to the corner for this reason. The number two reason why the yam business is profitable in Nigeria is that Nigerians use it to cook many other foods.

So if people are not buying it to cook yam they are buying it to make pounded yam or buying it to make yam soup or for any other reason because it is a food that is used to make different foods this has made its need increase. Another reason why the business is profitable is that only a few entrepreneurs are into the business.

It is not like other kinds of foodstuff businesses where many people are into the business on a large scale or small scale basis. Sometimes in an area, you might not even find just one yam seller which is why many people always go to the market to buy their yams in such cases. This is where you come in as a seller or a distributor in Nigeria.

How to Start Yam Business in Nigeria

Here are steps on how to start a yam business in Nigeria.

1. Do the Market Survey

When it comes to starting a business like yam business in Nigeria you need to do your proper findings especially if you are going to be investing a big capital into the business. You cannot simply base your knowledge only on the few things you know and what I have shared here on the blog.

You need to know how this business moves personally. You need to get what I call first-hand information from yam sellers and yam buyers.

1. Where you can be buying your yams at the lowest prices.

2. Which states in Nigeria you can buy these yams especially if you want to buy the yams straight from the farm? I was informed that Benue state is among one of the states in Nigeria that massively produce yams but if the states are not close to you, you can find out any state closer to you.

3. Techniques and methods you can use to preserve the yams you are buying to make them last longer in your store or shop. From my findings, before writing this article I was told yam can last from 3 – 6 months as long as they do not come in contact with salt and they do not touch the ground.

When I heard this, I remembered this was the reason our grandfathers in those days used to raise their yams above the ground (yam barn) leaving them hanging on something.

2. Get the Capital you Need

This is the next step to follow if you have done your findings on everything about yam business in Nigeria. With proper findings and with a manageable amount of money in your hands you will know how much you can invest in the business. Depending on the capital you have you can start the business as a distributor of yam in your area or simply start on a small scale then gradually move your way to the top.

It all depends on you. And if you do not have money to start the business I will strongly advise you not to borrow. Instead of borrowing, meet people who will support you with (capital) money to start. These people could be your family or friends that you feel will support you. All you have to do is to tell them about the business in detail if possible add a business plan (if you have one).

This will make you look more serious. Tell them you will need their financial support. Collect any amount they can afford to give you, gather it, and use it wisely. Use the money to start from anywhere. The most important thing here is to start.

3. Choosing a Location for Your Business

In a business like this, you cannot afford to be ignorant of the location where you will be selling your yam. You have to be sensitive about it. You need to look out for the perfect location for your yam business – a place that is not expensive when it comes to renewal of rent and yet very exposed.

Preferably, this shop or space should be located in an area where thousands of Nigerians pass daily maybe at a popular bus stop or roundabout or even at a t-junction. Getting this kind of location is very important for your yam business as it determines a lot in your business. Things like customer accessibility, profits, low transportation cost, low advertisement cost, and more.

This is why you need to get your location perfectly even if you do not get anything perfect in the beginning.

4. Buying Yams and Transportation

Transportation is one of the hardest parts of any business, especially in a country like Nigeria. Asides from the fact that over 80% of the roads in Nigeria are not good, there’s also a high cost of fuel. All these contribute to the high cost of transportation when it comes to business. So in cases like this, all the expenses are often transferred down to the consumers for him or her to bear the cost.

This is another reason why yam is expensive in Nigeria but you can make your difference a bit about this by doing 2 things mainly.

1. To buy from the closest market to you. This is if you are starting the yam business on a small scale in Nigeria. If you are starting it on a larger scale like becoming a yam distributor you can buy your yam straight from any yam farm close to you.

Doing this makes your yam a bit cheaper than the regular yam in your area which in turn will drive customers to your yam business to buy from you.

2. To sell yam on behalf of a yam farm. This kind of yam business also reduces your transportation cost because it is the yam farm that will be responsible for it. Your part is to sell the yams after they have been delivered to your shop.

Once these yams are delivered and sold you will then remove your profits and pay the farm the rest money. Asides from this kind of yam business reducing your profits, it also reduces the amount of capital needed to be invested in the business.

But asides from all these if you want to be the sole owner of the yam business and you want to transport the yams yourself there are a few cautions you need to put in mind. 

1. To make sure all yams are properly put into the van so that no one breaks whilst doing this.

2. To make sure that all yams are properly counted complete when put into the van before departure.

3. To make sure yams are arranged and tied well to avoid falling on roads during transportation.

4. If it is a long distance. To make sure that yams are protected from the sun rays and rain as this reduces their shelf life. After transporting yams to your shop they should be arranged instantly on ship crates and not bare floor to retain their quality.

5. Selling Yams for the First Time

Getting people to trust you as a yam seller for the first time can be very hard especially if you are new in the area but this can be defeated by doing the first thing I mentioned earlier here which is to rent a shop for your yam distribution business in a popular area – a place where thousands of people pass every day.

This will make them buy from you. When you are closer to them they will think of buying yam from you instead of going to the market to buy. Also, you can also convince your family and friends to buy yams from you. This will also increase your sales in no time.

6. Profits in Yam Business

This is very important in any business. In fact, if you are not after this in your yam business it then means you’re into charity instead not a business. Making profits in yam business is very simple but the question is how. I will share simple ways you can do this below.

A. Reduce your all expenses

Well, the first step here’s to reduce your expenses by all costs. I will mention some of these earlier and the solutions to them i.e the cost of transportation, the cost of renting a shop, and the cost of buying yams. You need to find a way to reduce all these expenses by all costs and start looking for ways to increase your profits.

B. Buy Yams Before Festive Periods

When you buy yams ahead of festive periods and sell them during festive periods you are able to buy them cheap and sell them expensive because during festive periods foods are naturally expensive.

C. Sell Yams to Party Cooks

There are cooks who cook for parties – weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and more. And often when these people cook they cook for hundreds of people. All you need to do is get the contacts of these party planners or cooks and give them better offers to encourage them to come and buy yam from you. When they do this your profits in your yam business will spike.

D. Sell your Yams Online

Yes, you can also sell your yams online. There are many platforms – eCommerce websites in Nigeria like Jiji, Konga, and even Jumia that encourage online sales. All you need to do is register under these platforms, upload clean, neat pictures about your yams, and start selling.


When it comes to starting a business in Nigeria many people will discourage you. Many will not even support you because some of them feel Nigeria’s economy is not good enough and not encouraging while others will not support you because they do not believe in you but you have to believe in yourself and trust that you will break through.

This is the life of an entrepreneur in Nigeria and it is the truth. You just have to start somewhere – in this case, yam business.


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Ralph Bamigboye is an Accountant. He is the owner of TheInfoWorth.com, NetWorthVerse.com and Finance Naija YouTube Channel. He has helped many individuals to start their businesses and make money online. How can he help you?

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