By Ginika Okoye
Abuja – The Federal Government says it will not relent in its yam export policy which is aimed at attracting foreign exchange for the country.
Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said this during a sensitisation walk in commemoration of the World Food Day in Abuja on Tuesday.
Ogbeh, who was reacting to reports that some yams recently exported to Britain were rejected, said that the policy had come to stay.
The minister said that the set back would not deter the dealers of the produce from exporting it, pointing out that the current world market for yams was worth $12 billion.
He said that the country could not afford to stay away from it because it was the highest producers of yams in the world.
“I read some news report about some yams arriving in Britain and being rejected. They stayed so long en route and if they stay that long, they are bound to rot.
“It happens to yams from Ghana as well. We will not stop the policy of the exportation of yam. I can assure you that.
“It is a policy that will stay because we are the largest producers of yams in the world. We produce 67 per cent of the yams.
“We will continue to help exporters; we will not as an institute export yams. We only support the private sector to do that and if there are problems we will solve them,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the yam export initiative was flagged off on June 29 and the consignment exported to the US recently was rejected.
Exporters of yam include Messrs Wan-Nyikwagh Farms Nig. Ltd, Gboko, Nigeria and Oklanbest Limited, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Meanwhile, an exporter of the product, Mr Yandev Amaabai, has identified the challenges that government should addressed to ease the exportation yams.
He said they included lack of refrigerated container and the long time the produce stay on the before its arrival to Europe of America.