Yams (Dioscorea spp.) are among the most important staple foods in the world, especially
some parts of the tropics and subtropics (Okigbo and Ogbonnaya, 2006). The role played
by yam in the food economy in most West African countries cannot be overemphasised.
It is one of the most important dietary sources of energy produced within the tropics.
Significantly, yam contributes to food security in Ghana and its availability on the market
for a considerable part of the year helps prevent food shortages, particularly in the urban
communities because it stores relatively longer than other root crops. The income
generated by rural poor farmers who are engaged in yam production improves their living
standards. Stored yam represents stored wealth which can be sold all-year-round by the
farmer or marketer.
In 2005, FAO reported that Nigeria produces about 66.6% (26.6 million metric tonnes) of
total world’s yam production, with Ghana producing 9.8% (3.9 million metric tonnes)
every year. Ghana produces yams for local consumption and the export market. The
country is a leading exporter of yam in the world (export of about 12,000 tonnes
annually). In Ghana, yam is produced mostly in the Guinea-Savanna and Forest-Savanna
transition zones. However, reasonable production occurs in almost all regions.