A news report by Daily Trust claims the 200,000 capacity yam facility at the Zaki Biam International Market in Benue State is the largest in the world.
A news report on June 9, tweeted by Daily Trust, caught the attention of many with the headline “Osinbajo commissions biggest yam market in the world”.
The paper made this claim while reporting Vice President Yemi Osibanjo’s commissioning of the yam market in Benue.
The report also said the market accounts for about 70 per cent of the yams cultivated in the country with over 200 trucks loading two million tubers of yams weekly.
Dubawa conducted a keyword search which showed several reports with the mention of Nigeria as the largest producer of yam in the world.
Our analysis of states producing yam in the country in relation to global yam production, threw up Benue State as the largest yam producing state.
In Benue, the biggest yam market is the Zaki Biam market, a market consistently identified as Nigeria’s largest yam market. A YouTube video by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) showing a documentary titled “Zakibiam Market: The heart of Yam in Nigeria” corroborated this claim.
Zaki Biam yam market is in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, which is known as the Food Basket of the Nation.
Nigeria Yam production
The Food and Agricultural Organisation in a report on root and tuber crop production said the world production of yam was estimated at 28.1 million tons in 1993 and that 96% of this came from West Africa; the main producers being Nigeria with 71% of world production; Côte d’Ivoire 8.1%; Benin 4.3% and Ghana 3.5%.
A report by the National Bureau of Statistics stated that Nigeria is the largest producer of yam as it contributes two-thirds of global yam production yearly.
“Nigeria is the largest yam producer in the world, contributing two-thirds of global yam production each year”Excerpt from NBS report
A report by FAO in 2018 presented data showing the top 10 yam producing countries in the world. Nigeria topped the list, with 47,532,615, followed by Ghana with 7,858,209.
In 2019, data from Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) ranked Nigeria as the largest yam producing country in the world with 66.7% of global output.
The report made this claim based on Nigeria’s total production which stood at 44million tonnes ($30.8bn).
The data showed Benue, Cross River, Delta, Taraba, Nasarawa, Ebonyi and Anambra state, are the top yam producing states in the country.
The claim that Zaki Biam is the biggest yam market in the world is TRUE as various reliable data gathering organizations across the globe support that Nigeria is the largest yam-producing country in the world.
Also, the claim that the Zaki Biam market trades in most (70%) of Nigeria’s yam production is also true as the market has been identified as the largest transaction point for yam in Nigeria.
Given that Benue State has been identified by several food market researchers as the single largest producer of yam in the country, it is logical that the Zaki Biam market in Benue state is the biggest yam market in the world.