All plans and logistics have been put in place for the official flag-off of yam exportation from Nigeria to Europe and US.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh made this known in a meeting with the technical committee on yam export in Abuja Nigeria’s capital.
The Minister said the country will on June 29, export 72 tonnes of yam to Europe and the United States of America (USA)
He said if a country like Ghana can make billions of Dollars from yam export, Nigeria as a country that accounts for 61% of yam in the world can make money from yam export.
“I saw the figures from Ghana’s earning from yam exports and there target for the future and they are quite impressive if Ghana can aim at a few billion dollars a year from yam I see no reason why Nigeria can’t quadruple that”
The minister added that a piece of 1kg of yam abroad goes about $15 which is a huge opportunity for Nigeria to make money.
Mr. Ogbeh said the future of Nigeria is under serious threat as the population is growing, the country is not earning enough foreign exchange and we are spending a lot importing food and by so doing not creating jobs for the populace.
Adding that Nigerians need to wake up and face the reality on ground which is agriculture.
He charged the committee to seek ways of mechanizing yam farming to attract the younger generations by engaging engineer to design a machine that can make yam heaps
“The average age of the Nigeria farmer is 60+ and the young men that make the yam heap in the villages are migrating to okada riding, so I want this committee to engage a team of engineers anywhere in the world to design a plough that can make the yam heap”
“we will find you the funds to carry out the research anywhere in the world that you need to travel to with pictures and videos of people making the heap for them to see, we have to mechanize heap making otherwise in another 5 years we will wake up one day and realize we don’t have yams because the people making the heap have grown too old” he added
Ogbeh also called on the Nigerian Agriculture Quarantine Service to reduce the charges for inspections in order to enable exporters make profit.
The chairman of the technical committee, Professor Simon Irtwange While briefing the Minister on programmes lined up for the official flag-off of yam export from Nigeria to Europe and the US said everything is set for the commencement of yam export.
He said the committee is following all requirements to ensure that everything is done according to standard.
“We also have standards that we are following, we are not just doing the work blindly, this is the standard for fresh yam tubers, this Nigeria’s standard and this is Ghana’s standard and we have combined this two standards to make sure everything is done correctly”
Professor Irtwange said the designed standards will be used in the future to train yam farmers in the country
He said there have been several awareness meetings to enlighten people.
The varieties of white yam selected for export promotions are pepe, Amula, hembankwase, Puna, Ogoja, fakitsa and the water yam also called cush cush by the Brazillians.
It would be recalled that earlier in 2017 the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development inaugurated the yam export committee to work on modalities that will take yam production, processing and marketing to the next level.