Accepted 21st June, 2019.
In West Africa yam producers do not remember when any yam production and utilization practice was introduced in their communities. This paper which is based on farm level survey in Nigeria and Ghana uses select farm practices to demonstrate that cultural practices at both production and utilization levels stand in the way of technological change in the yam food crop sector. The practices have their origin in mysticism, an element of African worldview. Peoples’ worldviews are fundamental beliefs about reality that are hard to change. The result of slow pace of technological development are high production and postharvest handling costs that place yam at price disadvantage relative to alternative starchy staples. This brought into question in yam research circles in West Africa about the survival of the yam crop as a major food staple. But in spite of the price differentials demand for yam for the cultural purposes has helped to sustain yam production at a rate of growth that is higher than population growth rate and growth rates of some of the alternative staples.
Keywords: Yam, West Africa, Mysticism, Worldview, Technological change