FG flags off yam export to Europe, US
Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development has flagged off the export of yam to Europe and the United States yesterday in Lagos.
The minister said during the formal take off of the programme that the exportation of the crop will in no way diminish the country’s yam consumption, stating that despite producing 70 percent of the global crop, the country is yet to be famous amongst the world exporting countries.
“I know that prices are high, but we are working to balance the pain of farmers to the gain of the consumers,” Ogbeh said.
He also stated that the country is already making plans to start producing plough that can be used in making yam heaps to assist farmers in the country whose average age is 60 years in the production of the crop.
According to him, the technology will be available for farmers within the next two years.
Ogbeh said that the programme would be engaging over a million Nigerians, urging the country to learn from Ghana’s example in yam exportation.
Also speaking during the flag-off, Benson Abounu, deputy governor of Benue State who was representing Samuel Ortom governor of the state, congratulate the agric minister for pioneering Nigeria to the outside world through yam export.
“Just two local governments in Benue can sustain Nigeria in the production of yam. There are 23 local governments in Benue and all of them produce yam considerably,” said Abounu.
He stated that the state has provided N1billion as a counterpart fund and N2 billion through the BoI to provide fund for yam farmers to increase their production and ensure standards.
Also, Abounu stated that the state has also provided another N3 billion to support processing of the crop.
Maohammed Jamil-Zakari, commissioner for agriculture, Nasarawa State, stated that Nasarawa state exported yam in 2010 to the United States they experienced 40 percent loss due to logistic problems and poor preservation methods.
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