Federal government plans to boost non-oil exports have suffered a major setback following the rejection of large quantities of yams exported to the United Stated of America by American consumers over poor quality.
Nigeria had until recently played no visible roles in global yam exports destine being the world largest producer of yams with about 62 percent of the global yam requirements.
The country had anticipated that the new policy will mark a watershed government efforts aimed at bringing Nigeria back into reckoning in the agricultural export market, the country lost due to poor quality control and subsequent rejection of the nation’s agricultural exports.
Federal government in response to pressure from dwindling low oil income, delved into yam exports in June with the first tranche of yams exported to the United Kingdom, China and the United States to check Ghana’s dominant roles as Africa’s largest yam exporter to the world.
The yam export policy was also part of the federal government initiatives to fast-track interventions and solidify the country’s income base
The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), a department within the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development empowered to make it more responsive to issues of safety and phytosanitary standards in food exports.
Agencies such as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON, were charged with the responsibility of ensuring that yams exported to the rest of the world was properly checked and certified before such exports
Others include, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC).
Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe however, while briefing State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Wednesday, bemoaned the latest development, vowing to investigate both the exporting company and officials of the Ministry’s Department of Quarantine for allowing such substandard good to leave the shores of the country.
According to him, ” Some consignment of yams were exported from Nigeria to the United States and according to reports we have today, they were found to be of poor quality” he said.
The Minister who fell short of naming the defaulting company, however vowed to get to the root of the matter.
The ministry, he said ” will investigate because the Meeting Ministry is not an exporter the exporters are private people”
” We will be investigating both the company that exported it and our quarantine department to check and find out why such a consignment left here”
The Minister also announced that rice growers and millers have been meeting on how to make rice, one of Nigeria’s staple food cheaper in the country.
He declared that government was very concerned about the high prices of paddy rice, but assured that with recent efforts, rice prices should fall within the next few weeks.
“We are very concerned about the price of rice which is the most consumed commodity in Nigeria”.
“The two have agreed to the plans we have been pursuing to arrive at a certain price which makes the price of paddy stabilize at a point where the milers can take the rice, mill it and put it in the market at competitive prices almost as low in price as the foreign rice including the smuggled ones is going for.
” That mean that in the next one month, the price of rice will become reasonable and the cost of rice would have reduced substantially”