By Ginika Okoye
Abuja, – The Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export say it is targeting the exportation of no fewer than 5,760 tonnes of yam to different countries in 2019.
Prof. Simon Irtwange, Chairman of the committee told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, that the committee was unable to achieve 50 per cent of the same target in 2018.
Irtwange said that the existences of the 1986 Export Prohibition Act, as well as some other logistics issues were hindering successful operations of yam exports in the country.
“We are still targeting 5,760 tonnes for exportation this year which is the same target last year.
“We were unable to do up to 50 percent of last year’s target because of some difficulties and logistics problem.
“We are trying to attack those issues very vigorously.
“We have written to the Ministers of Agriculture and Trade about the Export Prohibition Act to put pressure on the National Assembly to do Nigerian farmers this favour.
“We found out that some efforts have been done at the National Assembly but we do not know where the thing is currently hanging at the National Assembly.
The chairman noted that there were no cases of yam rejection at the international market in 2018.
“There was no rejection of our produce, the challenge we are having is that because there is an Export Prohibition Act in place especially in the United Kingdom.
“Once they see our yams there, they will say it is contraband because they are aware of the ban on export of yam out of Nigeria because our country prohibits it.
“So, it is even better to label our yams Ghana yam for it to be accepted in United Kingdom markets.’’
Irtwange, who is also the President, Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, appealed to the government to provide incentive for farmers to produce sufficient yams across the country in 2019.
According to him, once there is an incentive for the farmer, they will go into large scale and a lot of farmers are doing that now.