Nigerians May Soon Start Importing Yams From China – Agriculture Ministry

Ernest Umakihe, Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), has said that yams importation might soon begin in Nigeria.

While speaking at a stakeholders workshop on repositioning yam as an export crop, with the theme, ‘Prospects and Challenges of yam export in Nigeria,” he said that “Nigerians may soon begin importing yams for local consumption from China.”

He lamented that despite having a 67% of global yam output, Nigeria is not on the map of yam exporting countries.

The Federal Secretary expressed concern that with China delving into yam exportation, and considering Nigerians taste for imported goods, Chinese yams may soon be found in Nigerian kitchens.

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According to him such move would push more Nigerians into unemployment market and reduce the income of yam farmers.

Umakihe said Nigeria’s first attempt at exporting yam was by 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 export 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 tons to UK and USA. I believe these were done without proper planning before the execution. Aside the mentioned attempts, nothing much has been heard of the yam export from Nigeria,” he said.