Question: Why is New Yam So Expensive?

Yesterday, my friend, @Shutupkecy asked me why New Yam was so expensive – a fact I had noted but rather silently. So, here we are?

And then when I posted this on twitter, @bemgba said:

That made me laugh :).  And truth be told, it is true in the simplest sense, because it is new!

A few months ago, I purchased yams – old yams, for about N800 each. I remember because at Ebeano, the friendly neighbourhood market where I bought them, they had a graded price system with yams of N800 and N900. I tend to go with the cheaper option, very rarely is the difference in price reflected in size. 

Fast forward to the last few weeks, as new yams trickle into the market and the tubers are priced at N1100.

Why are they more expensive?

Before we go down this path, yams are some of the most expensive tubers available on the market, with good reason too. A lot of effort goes into planting and harvesting them, so this is understandable. 

The cost of yams might simply be the result of market forces, a la demand and supply.

The way I see it, there is a permanent demand for yams, but supply varies in the course of the year especially as old yams go out of season and new yams begin to appear for sale.

At the moment, new yam festivals are ongoing in various parts of the country. The first yams are being harvested and are slowly trickling into the market – thus supply is low…and demand, high.

In a few weeks, months, once the festivals are over and the harvests intensified, more yams will come into the market and prices should fall.

I don’t know about  the slightly larger size of new yams determining the price as well but we can speculate and I speculate accordingly 🙂 – size makes a difference.

So there – my theories on why new yams are expensive.

2 Comments

  1. Help me here… What is the difference between a new yam vs. old yam? Is the new yam, a new variety or a new harvest?
    Yams in the U.S. become less expensive in the fall months (October through December) when they are harvested. Yams a/k/a sweet potatoes are common ingredient for Thanksgiving celebrated in late November. When thinking about yams at my produce market they are definitely more expensive than regular potatoes but during the fall harvest they may be less expensive, I think your theory on supply and demand is spot on-

    Velva

    • Hi dear, thanks for asking these questions. I find it so amazing how growing up in a culture makes you assume certain aspects which may not be clear to those unfamiliar.

      New yam is a new harvest. Typically yams are harvested and then left in barns for a few months to age. The main harvest season is preceded by huge festivals and celebration, not dissimilar to Thanksgiving.

      What Americans refer to yams are not yams – they are a variety of sweet potatoes. Real yams are a foot+ long, and several inches wide (see – https://www.kitchenbutterfly.com/2015/08/30/celebrating-new-yam/)

      Stay well

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