….Ministry, stakeholders strategise to reposition crop for global competitiveness
By Mohammed Mohammed
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with other relevant Stakeholders have taken steps to resuscitate yam exportation in the country to boost national wealth creation, food security amongst others.
In a workshop, in Abuja, stakeholders deliberated and synergized on the measures to address the challenges hindering the smooth process of yam export.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Engr. Abdullahi Garba Abubakar, in a keynote address said that the aim of the meeting was to resuscitate the nation’s consciousness on the export of yam for national wealth.
He added that this wil also increase income for farmers and job creation, noting that the workshop was timely as Nigeria was diversifying its economy towards non-oil export commodities.
Umakhihe, said that, “Nigeria is the leading producer of fresh yams, yet it is unfortunate to note that despite the huge production, Nigeria is nowhere in the map of countries that export yams.”
He however warned that “If we must have sustainable food security for our teeming population of over 200 million Nigerians and have enough to export to other countries, there is need to critically examine the factors militating against quality production and export of our major commodities of which yam is one of them.”
The Permanent Secretary added that it has therefore become imperative to put Nigeria in its right position by considering its contribution to global production.
Speaking further, he emphasized that In 2020 Nigeria contributed 67% while Ghana 10% to global output.
However, Ghana remains the second highest world exporter of yam for over 10 years and the highest in West Africa with 94% to annual export contribution.
The Permanent Secretary expressed optimism that Nigeria can earn six times more than Ghana based on her production capacity.
He therefore stressed that to achieve the enormous task of repositioning yam for as an export crop, deliberate action must be made to take yam production, processing and marketing to the next level in line with international best practices.
In his remarks, the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Engr. Abdullahi Garba Abubakar represented by Deputy Director Nutrition Division, Dr. Oyeleke Oshadiya stated that yam, a variable crop was second to non in Nigeria.
He added that the workshop had provided an avenue for stakeholders in the sector to deliberate on the way forward in order to boost the income and improve the standards of living of yam farmers to bring prosperity to all yam value chain players.
In his good will message, the National President, Yam Farmers and Marketers Association of Nigeria, Prof. Simon Irtwange, commended the ministry for organizing the workshop and hoped that it would become an annual event.
He highlighted some of the challenges the association was faced with to include funding, certification among others.
Obe Mabel, For: Director, Information & PR Dept.