Despite being the world’s largest producer of yams with about 62 percent of the global yam requirements, this is the first time Nigeria has attempted to play a visible role in global yam exportation.
Plans by the federal government to raise non-oil exports halted when the American consumers rejected large quantities of yams exported to the country. The United States cited poor quality as the reason for the rejection.
The country had hoped that the new policy would be a milestone with the government’s eyes set on bringing Nigeria into recognition in the agricultural export market. This hope has dashed due to poor quality control which has led to the rejection of the nation’s yams.
Federal government succumbed to increasing pressure from declining low oil income and went into yam exports in June with the first portion of yams exported to the United Kingdom, United States and China to match Ghana’s dominant roles as Africa’s largest yam exporters worldwide.
The yam export policy was also part of the Federal government initiatives to speed up interventions and strengthen the country’s income base.
Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe while briefing State House correspondents decried the news of the rejection. He vowed to investigate the exporting company and officials of the Ministry’s Department of Quarantine for permitting such substandard product to be exported from the country.
The Minister also revealed that rice growers and millers are working towards making rice, one of Nigeria’s staple food cheaper for consumers in the country. He expressed government’s concern over the high prices of paddy rice and promised that rice prices should come down within the next few weeks.
“We are very concerned about the price of rice which is the most consumed commodity in Nigeria. The two (Rice growers and millers) have agreed to make plans to arrive at a certain price which makes the price of paddy stabilise at a point where the millers can take the rice, mill it and put it in the market at competitive process almost as low in price as the foreign rice including the price the smuggled ones are going for”, said the Minister.