The federal government through the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh on Thursday inaugurated a technical committee on Yam Export Programme.
The minister assured that the aim was for Nigeria to take advantage of the global yam market in which she remains the highest producer.
According to Ogbeh” Nigeria has the highest production of yam globally as attested to, by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) world records.
He said the records place Nigeria at 61.7 per cent while consisting of over 60 per cent varieties of in Nigeria alone”.
The minister however lamented that “despite the huge production, Nigeria unfortunately was not among yam exporting nations.
He added that “the Nigeria export yam program is aimed at taking yam processing to the next level”.
Chief Ogbeh said the committee in its Terms of Reference is to facilitate the acquisition of ware houses at the receiving destinations, address market out in Europe, canada and provide market information on weekly prices of yam at the major marketing centers abroad among others
He further urged the committee to support private sector in terms of packaging, organizing workshops for stakeholders in the value chain as well as facilitate industry visit to Ghana where necessary.
Chief Ogbeh expressed anxiety over the declining age of farmers and the diminishing no of young people going into agriculture. If we do not mechanised yam production,it will become very tedious and frustrating to continue farming in the next 10 years he said.
The Committee is Chaired by the MD/CEO SIEA Integrated Solutions Prof. Simon Irtwange
Reacting to questions on what,other countries were doing that Nigeria was failing to do, the Chairman said, “other countries had rationalized all the regulatory agencies under one roof. Adding ” that is what we want to do here to bring the regulatory agencies under one roof so that it would be easy to package the yams and export”.
Speaking on the global market he said Ghana had taken over the global market despite that Nigeria is the highest producer of yam.
He assured, “that if everything works out as plan the Nigerian yam should hit the global market within 5-6 months.”