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  • Yam export: FG to train farmers on best agronomy practices
  • The Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export
    Programme, says it will train farmers on best
    agronomic practices for yam farming to avoid
    rejection of the produce at the international
    markets.
    Prof. Simon Irtwange, the Chairman of the
    committee, disclosed this plan in an interview
    with the Newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
    The chairman said that poor agronomic
    practices during farming contributed to the
    rejection of the country’s produce at the
    international market, hence the need for the
    training.
    NAN recalls that the Federal Government had
    announced that the country would commence
    exportation of about 74 tonnes of yam to Europe
    and United States of America (USA) by June 29.
    Irtwange said the committee was partnering with
    the Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers
    Association of Nigeria to carry out the training.
    He noted that the training would help sensitise
    farmers on the use of pesticides as well as other
    requirements for the produce.
    According to him, we are also in collaboration
    with the International Institute of Tropical
    Agriculture (IITA) to provide improved yam
    seedlings to the farmers.
    “The committee is supposed to provide
    technical guidance for anybody who wants to go
    into yam export.
    “The exporter must be conversant with the
    standards for yam export and it the job of the
    committee to take exporters through the
    standards so that they will know what the
    requirements are.
    “The committee will also make sure that farmers
    under the Yam Farmers, Processors and
    Marketers Association of Nigeria, are trained on
    farming, processing and marketing.
    “IITA has told us that seedlings will be made
    available and we want to promote businesses
    around the yam seedlings value chain,’’ he said.
    Irtwange said that the Nigeria Export Promotion
    Council (NEPC) had made its yam conditioning
    centre in Zaki Biam, Benue State, available to
    exporters for the cleaning, wrapping and
    packaging of the produce before export.
    “The first requirement for any intending yam
    exporter is to get your exporters registration
    certificate from the Nigeria Export Promotion
    Council, then you come to the technical
    committee and we show you what to do.
    “What we are trying to have is a Nigerian yam
    pack house in Lagos and all regulatory agencies
    will be there to certify the produce.
    “The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) will be
    there to make sure that it is truly yams that are
    in the cartons, SON will be there to make sure
    that the yams are exportable varieties and
    conform to standard weighing about 2kg with a
    net weight of 20kg per carton.
    “The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service
    (NAQS) will also be there to make sure we do
    not export diseases to other countries.’’ the
    chairman said.
    Recall that Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of
    Agriculture and Rural Development, inaugurated
    the committee in February to sensitise farmers
    and exporters on required international
    standards of yam before exportation.
    The committee which is private sector led, has
    representatives from the Standards Organisation
    of Nigeria (SON) and Nigeria Agricultural
    Quarantine Service (NAQS) as its members.
    Other members of the committee include the
    Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), NEPC, Nigeria
    Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Shippers’
    Council (NSC, among others.

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