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Unveiling Cocoyam Potentials: Physiology and Agronomy

J. G. Adiele


Cocoyam is one of the world's oldest food crops grown purposely for food. Though commonly produced by smallholder, resource-limited and mostly female farmers, it plays important roles in nutrition, food security and agrobiodiversity in Africa. However, it has been identified as an underutilized crop that may suffer genetic erosion and an uncertain future due to limited research interest and demand. This study aims to provide more insight on the physiology of cocoyam, to aid innovative technologies and agronomic practices that will increase its productivity and production efficiency. The information and data used were collected from sources such as Google Scholar, Science Direct, Research Gate, FAOSTAT and research activity reports of the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Nigeria. Though the cocoyam production area in Nigeria has increased, yield per unit land area decreased from 6.6 in 2000 to 4 t ha in 2020. Growing cocoyam and optimizing the yield sustainably will boost food and nutrition security, protect biodiversity and reduce climate risks. The study suggests that an in-depth understanding of the crop's physiology, growth stages and characteristics will inform better agronomic practices and guide technological breakthroughs that will increase yield and value, thereby reinstituting its relevance in the food system and the environment.