Nigeria targets $10bn from yam export in 4 years –Ogbeh

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has disclosed that Nigeria has developed a blueprint to earn at least $10.0 billion annually from yam export in the next four (4) years.

Speaking at the launch at Lilypond Container Terminal, Ijora, Lagos, Ogbeh disclosed that his ministry was persuaded by the comparative and competitive benefits Nigeria has over other yam-producing countries. He also said that his ministry constituted a principally private Sector modeled 18-member Technical Committee on the Nigeria Yam Export programme on February 23, 2017 charged with the responsibility of developing a blueprint that would launch Nigeria’s yam into the global market, assume a substantial percentage of the market and take advantage of the country’s export potentials to earn foreign exchange.

According to him, the committee has delivered the blueprint for the development of the Yam Value Chain covering production, processing and marketing and the strategy for exportation of yam tubers, chips and flour in collaboration with ADES African Foods and Drinks, London, England, SIEA Integrated Solutions Ltd, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Makurdi Export Assistance Office, Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers, AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited, Benue Investment and Property Company Ltd, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), amongst others.

He added: “The success of the programme is expected to trigger increased income, enhanced standard of living, job creation as well as engender the participation of women and youths in agriculture through the development of innovative entrepreneurial endeavours on a sustainable basis. The Implementation Committee is already working tirelessly with the relevant stakeholders in the yam value chain to evolve the processes, regulations and the GAP and ensure competitive and profitable yam export business for Nigeria.

“I am persuaded of the immense benefits of the Yam Export programme in our import substitution drive and as a laudable approach to diversify the nation’s economy through the agricultural sector. Interestingly, Nigerian yam is already gaining prominence in the global market. The Chinese government has demanded dry yam from Nigeria to meet industrial and domestic needs.”

He said that the Government of Ghana has also developed the National Yam Development Strategy and Yam Export Strategy aimed at increasing export volumes from the current 35,000 metric tonnes to as high as 400,000 metric tonnes with expected revenue of about $5billion by 2018.

Ogbeh hinted that the Federal Government was set to achieve a milestone in the effort to restore Nigeria into the agro-commodity export market by exporting its first consignment of certified yams to the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA).

He said the feat is government deliberate attempt to rebound into the export market after several decades of lost ground arising from poor quality control and subsequent rejection of agricultural products.

He emphasized’ “We shall also take advantage of the Presidential Committee on Ease of Doing Business with the dedication of Ports solely for agro exports and reinforcing checks on the quality of produce from the country for foreign exchange earnings.”

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