Yam Export News
Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, has lamented that the country wastes a large percent of its food.
According to Audu Ogbeh who was speaking during the flagging-off of the Nigeria Yam Export, Thursday, there is so much waste of food in the country due to poor storage facilities.
“There is really no shortage, new yams will be here in two weeks. The old stock is still there everywhere and people in the market are getting worried that new yams will come and nobody will touch the old ones,” the minister said.
“We actually over produce food here (in Nigeria), 30% to 40% of some of the food we produce is wasted because of poor preservation capacity.”
Audu Ogbe added that there is need to tap into exportation of farm produce in the country so as to earn foreign exchange.
Emmanuel Ijewere, Coordinator, Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), in his reaction during an exclusive interview, maintained that the country is still using the traditional barn preservation of yams, contrary to the scientific methods being adopted by other nations like Brazil, US and Ghana.
Yams are grown in commercial quantity mostly in Niger, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Adamawa, Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Bauchi, Gombe, and Benue states.
Ijewere, however, commended Federal Government’s move to export its yam tubers to UK and USA, describing it as good, as it would enable the country improve on its preservation methods which would lead to higher export and more foreign exchange in return.
“You know that our present state of preserving yam mainly is through yam barns. It is not scientific; we lose almost 40 percent of yam. But, when we start exporting, we will expose ourselves to the new technology that countries like Brazil, US and Ghana are taking advantage of”, he said.
Ijewere disclosed that there are technologies for yam preservation which have not been used in Nigeria as the country has not faced the stiff competition that exists in the international market because most of the country’s produce is consumed locally.
“The fear that people have is that if we start exporting yam, there will be shortage of the produce in the country. This is not true. What we are losing through wrong preservation is far higher than what we can never expect. That policy is a good idea. It is progressive,” he added.