Nigeria has unveiled the guidelines and conditions of certification for yam export.
The Coordinating Director of Nigeria Agriculture Quarantine Services (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe said through the guidelines the farmers would know the requirements they would meet to be able to export yams.
”We do the certification and we do what is called backward integration to let the farmers know that if your commodity is intended for export to a particular country, this is their requirements,” Dr Isegbe stated.
He said the certification process would range from the sizes, species, weight and free from all forms of infections.
“The yam should be of uniform size, it should not have a growth on the head, it will be cut and waxed with candle to prevent infection, the yam should not have any nematode infestation…It should be of uniform specie, put in the carton in a particular way, it should be properly labelled and weighed, and if it is going to a particular country, the import condition for that yam will be stated, if it is going to be fumigated, the chemical for fumigation will be stated, so we will comply with the request of the importing country to ensure that those things are put in place before exporting,” the Coordinating Director explained.
He said one of the conditions for the certification process would include the inspection of farms, as the agency wants to be able to trace each tuber of yam to the farm.
“We will be able to trace that this tuber in a particular consignment came from a particular farm, if it has any issue in the importing country and they informed us, we will be able to trace the yam to the farmer and the farmer”
Concerning educating and enlightening farmers and intending exporters, Dr, Isegbe said the Agency was educating farmers and exporters on what they are supposed to do, so that they don’t bring the yam at the point of export and it will be rejected.
He said the Agency had jingles to tell farmers where the locations of their offices are for enquiries.
The agency has five zonal offices, 56 stations and is still expanding across Nigeria.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Audu Ogbeh recently announced that Nigeria would officially export its first consignment of certified yams to the UK and U.S. by the end of June.
He said the yam export was part of the Government’s efforts to put Nigeria back in the map of agriculture export market.
The Minister added that Government has empowered the Nigerian Agriculture Quarantine Services NAQS , to make it more responsive to issues of safety and phyto-sanitary 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.