The commencement of yam export from Nigeria will not result in the depletion of the commodity domestically, the Federal Government has said.
Last week, the government announced that a consignment of 72 metric tonnes of yam would leave Nigeria for Europe and the United States of America on Thursday, June 29, 2017.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, had stated that the export programme would set the stage for the country’s return to the global yam value chain as a dominant player.
Reacting to concerns that the move might affect the availability of yam locally, Ogbeh stated on Thursday that there was no reason to be anxious by the populace.
The minister, who disclosed this in a statement issued by his Media and Communications Adviser, Dr. Olukayode Oyeleye, stated that those who were apprehensive about the possible non-availability of yams for local consumption as a result of the export programme needed not be.
According to him, Nigeria has consistently been reckoned with globally as the largest producer of yam at various times, accounting for anything between 65 and 76 per cent of the total world production.
The statement noted that the Food and Agriculture Organisation reported in 1985 that Nigeria produced 18.3 million tonnes of yam from 1.5 million hectares, representing 73.8 per cent of the total yam production in Africa.
It stated that yam was being grown in vast areas of the country, covering many agro-ecological zones, from the coastal region in rain forests, wood savannah to southern savannah habitats, spreading over 27 out of the 36 states, in addition to the Federal Capital Territory.
“There are therefore more reasons to be optimistic about the prospects,” it added.
The government listed the yam-producing states to include Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Kogi, Kwara and Lagos.
Others are Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers and Taraba states.
According to the government, all the states have responsibilities to support production and post-production activities of yam, including trade and generation of on-field and off-field data.