Zaki Biam, in the Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State, has been described as the place with the biggest yam market in the world.
Nigeria is by far the largest producer of yams, accounting for over 70–76 per cent of the world’s production.
According to a Food and Agricultural Organization report, Nigeria averagely produces 18.3 million tonnes of yam annually from 1.5 million hectares, representing 73.8 per cent of total yam production in Africa.
According to Tiv People, a blog focused on the Tivoid ethnic group mainly found in Benue state, over two million yam tubers are sold weekly at the market.
This market is a hub for yam trade and a cultural and economic centre for the Tiv people.
The market is said to have gained international recognition for its significant contribution to the yam industry and attracts buyers and sellers from all around Nigeria and beyond.
“The market’s reputation for quality and quantity has made it a preferred destination for traders, exporters, and customers interested in purchasing yams in bulk.
“As you visit this market, you will witness a vibrant and lively atmosphere. Traders, farmers, and vendors engage in enthusiastic bargaining and negotiation.
“The market provides a showcase of different yam varieties, sizes, and qualities, ensuring that customers have a wide range of options to choose from,” the blog stated.
In June 2020, the federal government inaugurated a yam storage facility in Zaki Biam to store up to 200,000 tubers of yam.
The then vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, did the inauguration virtually and explained that the market has few storage facilities, hence the storage facility’s construction.
Go into yam business today. It is a highly profitable venture.