The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Chief Audu Ogbeh has addressed the concerns of Nigerians, who are worried about the possibility of non-availability of yams for local consumption, following the new initiative for yam export by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Read Excerpts of the statement below:
Dear Nigerians, let me once again, address your concerns about our new programme on yam export. On June 29, 2017, a total of 72 metric tons of yam will leave the shores of Nigeria to Europe and the US, heralding a new dawn in Nigeria’s food exports.
There is no need to panic about the non-availability of yams for Nigerians to consume. There has never been shortage of yams in Nigeria. Over 30% of the yams we produce in Nigeria rot away. Export therefore provides opportunities to earn foreign exchange and produce more yams.
If nearby Ghana that does not grow anywhere near one tenth of the yams we grow is targeting USD4bn in yam exports, we do better. The export of Nigerian yams is not new. It has just been going through other ports and largely unaccounted for, due to sharp practices.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, Nigeria accounts for 61% of yam production in the world. Nigeria has no reason not to engage in and benefit from this profitable trade in view of our large production capacity.
We cannot diversify our economy if we do not explore new ways of creating wealth and earning foreign exchange especially in items on which we have competitive advantage and superior production capacity. There is no need to panic!
We need to focus on the opportunities, as we partner with our development partners to create storage facilities to minimize post-harvest losses; and as we work on other exportable agro commodities, we are working on mechanized methods for the production of yam heaps to ease the burden of yam production and review its standards to ensure local improvement and global acceptability.
To diversify our economy through Agriculture, we cannot, but support this private sector initiative and drive for our Agro commodity exports.
Chief Audu Ogbeh