NIGERIA – The Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export said it is targeting the exportation of more than 5,760 tonnes of yam to different countries in 2019, reports the Vanguard.

However, Prof. Simon Irtwange, Chairman of the committee has highlighted existences of the 1986 Export Prohibition Act and logistics problems as some of the major challenges facing yam export operation in the country.

“We are still targeting 5,760 tonnes for exportation this year which is the same target last year.

We were unable to do up to 50 percent of last year’s target because of some difficulties and logistics problem.

We have written to the Ministers of Agriculture and Trade about the Export Prohibition Act to put pressure on the National Assembly to do Nigerian farmers this favour,” he said.

According to Prof. Simon Irtwange, the prohibition act has seen the produce struggle in the United Kingdom market despite there being no cases of yam rejection at the international market in 2018.

Irtwange, who is also the President, Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, appealed to the federal government to provide incentive for farmers that will ensure sufficient produce of yam across the country.

Farmers call for investment in seed yam production

The lobby group, through Prof. Simon Irtwange, has appealed to the Federal Government to invest in seed yam production.

Prof. Simon Irtwange, President of the Association, said that an estimated 500 million seed yam were lost to herdsmen attacks in 2018 adding that the yam seed business was valued at a potential US$10.93 billion.

According to him, the current production level of seed companies does not meet farmer’s requirements therefore presenting a need for more investment into the sector.

“The companies are working but they need some funding support to be able to scale up their production.

The companies are being supported by IITA but their level of production will not be enough to cater for the seed yam requirements in Nigeria.

There is need for massive infusion of funds into seed yam production and therefore we are saying that the government should prioritise yam,’’ he explained.

Meanwhile, yam farmers across the country are set to benefit from more than 9 million new seed varieties under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) – which seeks to boost production, processing and export.

Nigeria is the leading yam producer globally covering about 3 million hectares with an average yield of 10 tons per hectare and a potential to generate the country more than US$ 10.93 billion.