Nigeria is nowhere in the map of countries that export yam despite being a leading producer of the crop, the Federal Government said on Tuesday.
It, however, stated that this must be addressed, stressing that it was currently collaborating with relevant stakeholders to resuscitate yam export from Nigeria to boost wealth creation and food security.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ernest Umakhihe, disclosed this at a stakeholders’ workshop in Abuja.
Represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Abdullahi Abubakar, the permanent secretary said the aim of the meeting was to resuscitate the nation’s consciousness on the export of yam.
He said, “Nigeria is the leading producer of fresh yams, yet it is unfortunate to note that despite the huge production, Nigeria is nowhere on the map of countries that export yams.
“If we must have sustainable food security for our teeming population of over 200 million people and have enough to export to other countries, there is a need to critically examine the factors working against the quality production and export of our major commodities, of which yam is one of them.
“It, therefore, becomes imperative to put Nigeria in its right position by considering its contribution to global production.”
Umakhihe told participants at the workshop that in 2020, Nigeria contributed 67 percent, while Ghana 10 percent to global yam output.
“However, Ghana remains the second highest world exporter of yam for over 10 years and the highest in West Africa with 94 percent to the annual export contribution,” he stated.
The permanent secretary expressed optimism that Nigeria could earn six times more than Ghana based on Nigeria’s production capacity.
Umakhihe stressed that to achieve the enormous task of repositioning yam as an export crop, deliberate action must be taken to move yam production, processing, and marketing to the next level in line with international best practices.
In his remarks, the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Abdullahi Abubakar, who was represented by Deputy Director, Nutrition Division, Oyeleke Oshadiya, said the workshop provided an avenue for stakeholders to deliberate on the way forward in order to boost the income of yam farmers and bring prosperity to all players in the value chain.
The National President, of the Yam Farmers and Marketers Association of Nigeria, Simon Irtwange, commended the ministry for organising the workshop and highlighted some of the challenges confronting yam farmers including funding, and certification, among others.