Yam and cassava production are major enterprises in agriculture and are becoming increasingly popular owing to greater appreciation of their food value. Yam and cassava are staple food crops, being the source of daily carbohydrate intake for a large populace of the world (FAO, 1990). The carbohydrates are mostly starchy in nature, found in storage organs, which may be enlarged roots or tubers (O’ Hair, 1990). Yam and cassava are the most important of all the arable food crops grown in the southern agro-ecological zones of Nigeria, closely followed, inorder of economic importance by maize and rice. They were regarded as food mainly for the poor, and hence played a very minor role in international trade. This misconception has lingered for so long because of lack of appreciation of the number of people who depend on these crops, and the number of lives that have been saved during famine or disasters by these crops (FAO, 1990).
Yam and cassava are often the main dietary staple for low income consumers. They are grown by farmers as subsistence crops on small plots of land ranging from two to twenty hectares depending on the region. In Africa, yam and cassava are usually subsistence crops grown mainly as food, so the farmers keep sufficient to feed his family and sells only the surplus. However there is now a growing commercial market for them.
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