From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
Despite its position as 60 per cent global yam producer, Nigeria is not recognised among yam exporting nations in the world, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) Dr. Mohammed Umar Bello, has said.
The PS attributed this flaw to lack of quality seeds of improved varieties as well as inefficient seed production.
The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), earlier ranked Nigeria as one of the World’s largest producers of Yam with about 60 per cent of global production.
Bello, also alluded to this in Abuja at the National Awareness Workshop on Yam, organized by the Advocacy and Resource Mobilization Team (ARMT) of Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA), an initiative of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
The PS, who was represented by the Director of Agriculture, Engr. Frank Satumari, attributed this setback as to why IITA through its (YIIFSWA) programme developed High Ratio multiplication technologies, “that is seed multiplication system that is sustainable and capable of producing high quality yam seeds at an affordable price to Farmers with high yielding potentials.”
According to him, the current practice in Yam Seed production is at a Ratio of 1.1 within 12 months but the new technology would produce a 1.300 Ratio within six months.
He also appreciated the activities of (YIIFSWA) in Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Oyo, Enugu States and FCT which he said has led to the use of clean planting materials by some farmers in those areas.
In his remark, the Commissioner of Agriculture, Enugu State, Hon. Idu Mathew, who was represented by Director, Technical Resources, Mr. Onuze Benjamin, said that “every country that export its raw commodity, exports its labour and every other thing that is good to the country”.
In a statement by Mohammed Abdullahi Gana onbehlaf of the Director of Information, Mathew further stated that the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), making effort to ensure that all export products undergo the normal necessary value chain in addition to processing before export.
He urged all farmers to take opportunity of the workshop to add value to what we have in the country.
The focal person (ARMT) and (YIIFWA) Nigeria Team, Dr. Pepetua Iyere-Usiahon, said one of the things that brought about the YIIFWA programme is food security and if not well addressed, the populace would do what is expected of them.