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Nigeria nowhere on the map of yam exporting countries – Perm Sec Laments

Despite accounting for 67% of global yam output, Nigeria is sadly nowhere on the map of yam exporting countries.


The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Ernest Umakihe, made the disclosure while speaking at a stakeholder’s workshop on repositioning yam as an export crop themed ‘Prospects and Challenges of yam export in Nigeria’.

Umakihe expressed concerns that with China delving into yam exportation, and considering Nigerians taste for imported goods, Chinese yam may soon be found in Nigerian kitchen if care is not taken, adding that, it is the duty of Nigerians to find out what went wrong and how to address the situation.

The Permanent Secretary regretted that the development could push more Nigerians into the unemployment market and reduce yam farmers’ income.

Umakihe recalled that Nigeria’s first attempt at exporting yam was by Nasarawa State Government in 2009 with 8.5 metric tonnes and within the same month another 66 metric tonnes were exported in two shipments, followed by Oyo State, but without success.

He also said that the Ministry’s attempt to revive yam export in 2017 was poorly handled.

“It was only in 2017 that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture under the leadership of Chief Audu Ogbeh, then Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development organised the first flag-off ceremony (of yam) with a batch of 72 tons to UK and USA. I believe these were done without proper planning before the execution. Aside the mentioned attempts, nothing much has been heard of the yam export from Nigeria,” he said.

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