The technical committee on Nigeria Yam Export Programme has corfirmed its partnership with the University of Agriculture, Umudike and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to produce seed yams for export.
Last June, an unprecedented 72 tonnes of yam were exported to the United States of America from Nigeria. However, all were rejected as they were rotten on arrival. Prior to this, reports stated that that sixty-seven processed and semi-processed food products of Nigeria origin exported to the EU were rejected in 2015 and 2016. The rejected food items included include brown and white beans, melon seeds, palm oil, bitter leaf, ugwu leaves, shelled groundnuts, smoked catfish and crayfish.
The committee was charged with the responsibilities of finding markets for Nigerian yams in the world and providing market information on weekly prices of yam at the major marketing centres abroad.
Prof. Simon Irtwang, the programmes’ chairman told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the seed yams would be given to farmers to plant them specifically for export.
“One of the challenges with the flag-off of yams exported in June 2017 was that the yams were exposed to the sun before being selected for export.
“Once yams are exposed in the sun for long, the process of decaying sets in gradually.
“With special seed yams, the structures to have a good quality of seed yams for export will be set in motion.
“This will help and ensure that future yam exports withstands the temperatures of all the countries the yams will be sent to,’’ he said.
Irtwang said that the technical committee would consider the post-harvest handling of yams for export to ensure they meet international standards.
Irtwang said that yam exporters have to be familiar with the processes of handling as well as the other varieties and species not good for export.