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Nigeria’s failure in yam exportation paved way for China, Perm Sec laments  



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Ernest Umakihe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), has expressed concerns over China delving into yam exportation to target the Nigerian market.

Umakihe stated this while speaking at a stakeholder workshop on repositioning yam as an export crop.

He lamented that despite accounting for 67% of global yam output, it was unfortunate that Nigeria is nowhere on the map of yam exporting countries.

He expressed concerns that with China delving into yam exportation and considering Nigerians taste for imported goods, Chinese yam may soon be found in Nigerian kitchens if care is not taken, thereby pushing more Nigerians into the unemployment market and reducing the income of yam farmers.

Umakihe said Nigeria’s first attempt at exporting yam was by the Nasarawa State Government in 2009 with 8.5 metric tonnes, and within the same month another 66 metric tonnes were exported in two shipments, followed by Oyo State, but without success.

He also said that the Ministry’s attempt to revive yam exports in 2017 was poorly handled.

“It was only in 2017 that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, under the leadership of Chief Audu Ogbeh, then Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, organised the first flag-off ceremony (of yam) with a batch of 72 tonnes to the UK and USA. I believe these were done without proper planning before the execution. Aside from the mentioned attempts, nothing much has been heard of the yam export from Nigeria,” he said.

Speaking on the theme of the workshop, ‘Prospects and Challenges of Yam Export in Nigeria’, he said it is the duty of Nigerians to find out what went wrong and how to address it.

China into yam exportation