Ever heard of a cocoyam? If you’re from Nigeria you’ve definitely heard of it but it’s also more familiar to you than you may realize. The clue is in the name – it’s brown like cocoa and it’s a kind of yam. It’s like the Russet potato of the sub-tropics. However, unlike potatoes and yams, these tubers aren’t chock full of sugars which is excellent news for diabetics and people trying to steer clear of sugar.

It’s actually chock full of all kinds of high value nutrients that the body needs. One of the reasons why it is so popular in certain parts of the world is because it is packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. It helps stave off famine and is relatively easy to grow. But the fact is cocoyam is very regional; limited to parts of Africa and Asia. Most other parts of the world are completely oblivious to this super vegetable.

Women from the village of Pessena, northern Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu, in front of their plants of cocoyam. Photo by Vincent Lebot, CAB International.

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