A Nigerian yam exporter, Dr. Timothy Ijir who is based in the United States, has said in an interview with PUNCH newspaper that the US authorities did not reject any yam exports from Nigeria.
He said, “I am the only person who has imported Nigerian yams into the US and I can say without equivocation that they were not rejected. Any statement to the contrary is false and misguided.
“Some of the statements and quotes credited to the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources are false. I am currently working on importing my next consignment. Our US Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration import permit is still valid.”
This revelation was made in light of the news report a few weeks ago where the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh stated that the US rejected yams from Nigeria because of their poor quality. The Minister further said that the Federal Government would increase disciplinary measures against exporters that would embarrass Nigeria by exporting substandard items.
Ukpabi, the acting director, National Root Crop Research Institute, Umudike, Imo state however accuses the Federal Government of not involving the institute before beginning exportation of yam to Europe and the U.S. He said “The problem associated with yam export to Europe is due to improper consultation. We are the research institute in charge of roots and tubers in Nigeria, but unfortunately, we were not consulted before the yam exportation exercise started.
“The viruses that affect yam are numerous; so, you need to know the varieties of yam that you are exporting. I am trying to see the Minister of Agriculture to know what actually happened to the exported yams and why they got spoilt before their transit to Europe.”
Nigeria had in June 2017, commenced yam export to other countries as part of efforts targeted at reducing the nation’s dependence on oil and increasing its revenue from agriculture.