The Nasarawa State Government says it has commenced plans to complete the abandoned yam conditioning centre in Keffi Local Government Area to boost exportation in line with the Federal Government’s initiative.
Mr Jameel Zakari, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, made this knownin Lafia.
Zakari said that Gov. Umaru Al-Makura had directed that the project be assessed with a view to completing the centre and put it to use.
He said the project initiated during the former Gov. Aliyu Doma’s administration, about 10 years ago was abandoned, adding that the present administration was determined to address those challenges.
Zakari said that the state government had begun yam exportation to UK during the past administration, but could not sustained it due to logistic challenges resulting in huge losses.
According to him, in view of the current economic diversification drive of the government, with focus on agriculture, Nasarawa State is determined to key into Federal Government efforts to revitalising the sector.
Zakari said that the ongoing construction of a cargo Airport in Lafia would be an impetus to the yam export initiative, as it would provide direct link to the international community.
“Nasarawa is one of the largest yam producing states in the country; with the right motivation, through provision of farm inputs, access to market and conditioning facility to minimise post-harvest losses, farmers in the state will be encouraged to plant more. Nasarawa State, was at a time exporting over 150 tonnes of ‘paper’ yam species to UK, with the then Gov. Aliyu Doma, performing the official launch of the programme in London.The yam exported from the state then had achieved sixty per cent success, but later encountered challenges of transportation and proper conditioning for the produce, leading to its abandonment,’’ he said.
It will be recalled that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, had indicated the Federal Government’s plan to export processed yam products to Britain, U.S. and the European Union (EU).
Nigeria officially commenced yam exports to Europe and the United States a few weeks ago, with many states of the Federation now willing to tap into the business opportunities.