The Federal Government has said it will start exporting yams and other locally produced food items to the United States,United Kingdom and other countries soon.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh stated this on Friday. The minister said the first consignment of certified yams will be exported to their respected countries of destination (US and UK) by the end of June.
This is contained in a statement on Friday by Olukayode Oyeleye of the Media and Communication department in the ministry.
Ogbeh said that the Federal Government was committed to restoring Nigeria’s place in agro-commodities export market, which had been lost for decades as a result of poor quality control.
‘‘This exportation will mark a milestone in the efforts we are making to bring Nigeria back into reckoning in the agricultural export market.
‘‘We lost this, decades ago, as a result of poor quality control and subsequent rejection of our agricultural exports.
‘‘Among a number of initiatives to fast-track these interventions and solidify our base, the Federal Government has empowered the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), to make it more responsive to issues of safety and phytosanitary standards in food exports.
‘‘The NAQS reports will become acceptable globally and this will forestall the national embarrassment arising from the rejections of food exports on account of quality deficiency,’’ he said.
He disclosed that the Federal Government had also established a standing inter-ministerial technical committee on zero-reject of agricultural commodities/produce and non-oil exports in Nigeria.
Ogbeh said the the committee is co-chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and technically supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
Member-agencies are the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
Others are Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC).