Despite accounting for 67 percent of global yam output, Nigeria is nowhere on the map of yam exporting countries and its observed that Nigeria may have to import it from China, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has disclosed.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ernest Umakihe said Nigeria is by far the world’s largest producer of yams contributing two-thirds of global yam production each year. Yams are produced in large quantities around August to October in the western part of the country while north-central states like Benue, Nasarawa and Niger produce them in abundance between September to November.
The permanent secretary 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, thereby pushing more Nigerians into the unemployment market and reducing the income of yam farmers.
But he noted that attempts by the country to export yam have been largely unsuccessful as Nigeria’s first attempt at exporting yam was by Nasarawa State Government in 2009 followed by Oyo State without success.
The Perm Sec was worried that Ghana, which produces a meagre 10 percent of the global output has grown its earnings from the export of yam from $18.48 million in 2015 to $39.7 million in 2021 while Nigeria lags behind.
Speaking on the theme of the workshop, ‘Prospects and Challenges of yam export in Nigeria’, he said it is the duty of the government and Nigerians to find out what went wrong and how to address it.
“If we must have sustainable food security for our teeming population of over 200 million Nigerian people and have enough to export to other countries, there is the need to critically examine the factors militating against quality production and export of our major commodities of which yam is one of them,” he said