Nasarawa State Government says it has commenced plans to complete the abandoned yam conditioning centre in Keffi Local Government Area to boost exportation in line with the Federal Government’s initiative.
Mr Jameel Zakari, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lafia.
Zakari said that Gov. Umaru Al-Makura had directed that the project be assessed with a view to completing the centre and put it to use.
He said the project initiated during the former Gov. Aliyu Doma’s administration, about 10 years ago was abandoned, adding that the present administration was determined to address those challenges.
Zakari said that the state government had begun yam exportation to UK during the past administration, but could not sustained it due to logistic challenges resulting in huge losses.
According to him, in view of the current economic diversification drive of the government, with focus on agriculture, Nasarawa State is determined to key into Federal Government efforts to revitalising the sector.
Zakari said that the ongoing construction of a cargo Airport in Lafia would be an impetus to the yam export initiative, as it would provide direct link to the international community.
He said: “Nasarawa is one of the largest yam producing states in the country.
“With the right motivation, through provision of farm inputs, access to market and conditioning facility to minimise post-harvest losses, farmers in the state will be encouraged to plant more.
“Nasarawa State, was at a time exporting over 150 tonnes of ‘paper’ yam species to UK, with the then Gov. Aliyu Doma, performing the official launch of the programme in London.”
“The yam exported from the state then had achieved sixty per cent success, but later encountered challenges of transportation and proper conditioning for the produce, leading to its abandonment.’’
NAN reports that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, had indicated the Federal Government’s plan to export processed yam products to Britain, U.S. and the European Union (EU).
Ogbeh said on July 4 in Lagos that the exportation of fresh yam tubers had already started.
“The target markets are millions of Africans, especially Nigerians in the Diaspora, who want to buy and eat fresh yam.
“For those who will prefer yam flour and pounded yam, the ministry has identified five companies to process yam tubers into those products.
“We will get the UK certified standards for the exportation of those yam value chains.
“We will also put in our own checks and balances to ensure that every export meets the set standard.
“This is to ensure that the processed products are not rejected, once we start to export,” he said. (NAN)