Nigeria loses billion of naira in Yam exports to poor storage, packaging

Tayo Oladipupo
Yam dealers have decried how lack of storage facilities and standard packaging of local yams have denied the government of billions of naira in foreign exchange earnings.

Sellers of the produce at Kosofe market said that Nigeria’s specie of yams is the best in the world but maintained that lack of good storage and packaging facilities for durability has made other African countries overtake it in exportation.

Recall that it was reported recently that exported yam tubers from Nigeria were rejected abroad due to its failure to meet international standard.

But while speaking, Mr Collins Obi, Secretary, Shukurah Yam Sellers Association of Nigeria retorted that such claim that Nigerian yams are substandard is not the right position saying Nigeria has the best tubers in the world.

Obi who did not bandy any figure to the amount the government is losing maintained that yam can serve as foreign exchange earner for the country if necessary facilities are put in place.

He further explained that the cost of yam in cities would not have been so exorbitant but for different levies and taxes the yam sellers are made to pay while bringing their produce from the farms to cities.

According to him, a set of yam purchased for N12,000 in the farm may cost another N12,000 to get it to the city thereby making the price of the yam to double while selling to final consumers.

He also mentioned inter ethnic fighting as another factor mitigating against growing of yams in rural areas.

“The truth of the matter is this, Nigeria has the best yam tubers specie in the whole world but the problem with Nigeria is that we lack storage facilities, how to package it and make it look standard.

“Ghana exports yam and you cannot compare Ghana’s yam with Nigerian yam. Brazil exports yam bit when it comes to real quality of yams, we have different species here and different types.

“The storage and packaging is all what makes the difference bit we lack all those standard ways of doing things.

“We ought to have been doing this but because we don’t have a government that is focused, government that can  think ahead of time.

“We have been producing yam from time but now we can make foreign exchange from it, we can make it look like others, we can make something from it.

He added that if something is not done very quickly, yams May vanish from the market due to lack of proper storage mechanism for the produce.

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