Nigeria is the largest producer of yam in the world, with approximately 42 million tons produced in 2014 (Food and Agricultural Organization, 2017), representing approximately 70% 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. 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 due to lack of processing and preservation mechanisms in Nigeria. One of the more acceptable means of preserving yam is to convert it to yam flour. Nigerians are known for consuming pounded yam in both rural and urban areas. Therefore, the consumer culture results in a growing increase for pounded yam and ?amala?.
Moreover, the traditional method of making pounded yam is very laborious and mostly unhygienic. It requires physical pounding with pestle and mortar by two or more strong men or women, de?pending on the quantity. Particularly in urban areas, the traditional method of preparing pounded yam is being boycotted as a result of the amount of energy expended in its preparation. Also root and tuber crops generally do not have a long shelf life, it is therefore economical to convert yam to yam flour so as to preserve its shelf life. Instant pounded yam flour requires short processing time and less energy. Processed yam can be easily stored for a long period (12 – 18 months) if absence of moisture; hence yam is commonly processed into varying form such as yam flour, poundo yam flour, flakes.
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.
This feasibility report is for an instant poundo yam processing project with a capacity to produce ?3 tonnes per day.