The House of Representatives has made a resounding plea to President Bola Tinubu, urging his government to elevate the production of yam tubers. This can be achieved by implementing vital measures and providing attractive incentives to farmers, which can be facilitated by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Agriculture Insurance Corporation, Bank of Agriculture, and Money Deposit Banks. The Representatives further insisted that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security should conduct a thorough evaluation of policies in order to effectively oversee and manage the institutions accountable for export operations within Nigeria.
On November 23, 2023, the adoption of a motion co-sponsored by Regina Akume and Adedayo Adesola led to the achievement of the resolutions. These resolutions were made possible by the collaboration of both members of the All Progressives Congress, representing Benue and Lagos States. Akume took the lead in Thursday’s plenary by initiating a discussion on the motion titled “Need to Formulate Policies that Will Foster Exportation and Boost Yam Production in Benue State and other parts of Nigeria.”
Many cultures in Nigeria regard yam as the king of crops.
Leading the discussion, Akume shifted the focus towards the essence of yam in Nigeria, stressing its widespread consumption and role as a staple food. Additionally, he emphasized the economic significance of yam as a prominent cash crop cultivated not only in Benue State but across numerous regions throughout Nigeria. In Nigeria, yam is more than just a mere food item; it is a staple that has become deeply ingrained into our culture and way of life. For instance, the Igbo people have the tradition of celebrating the New Yam Festival every year.
At the onset of the planting season, yams take precedence as one of the initial crops to be sown. During the period spanning from April to August, unassuming crops like maize, cocoyam, and pumpkins are gathered and consumed without much ado. Hence, the New Yam Festival materializes as an occasion to honour and symbolize the crucial role yams play in the social and cultural fabric of the Igbo community. In some Igbo communities, all old yams (from the previous year’s crop) must be consumed or discarded on the eve of the New Yam Festival, and only dishes of yam are served at the feast the next day, as the festival is symbolic of the abundance of the produce.
Some businesses engage in exports without approval from regulators.
Yam producers heavily depend on consumers for their survival, highlighting the vital role that consumers play in their industry. To ensure a steady supply of fresh yam all year round, there is a pressing need for a reliable storage method. However, Nigeria faces obstacles from regulatory bodies in its pursuit to enhance its economic capability, strengthen foreign reserves, and expand its yam export trade. These challenges pose significant difficulties for the country’s ambitions. Nigeria has the potential to be one of the highest exporters of this farm produce in West Africa.
Meanwhile, lawmakers at the lower legislative chamber have expressed concerns over the presence of businesses engaged in exports that operate independently of trade promotion agencies. These businesses either choose to work with local packaging producers or move their operations to countries like Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Benin Republic that offer favourable conditions for business. The House is particularly worried about the reliance on Nigerian farmers as the primary suppliers of raw materials for Fresh Yam Produce in Ghana.
Agencies tasked with formulating export strategies.
Because of this, the House passed a resolution directing its Committee on Commerce to reach out to the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). These agencies were asked to deliver a progress report on strategies to boost Nigerian export industry. Hopefully, the government can extract actionable insights via this means and propel the country towards achieving its potential as a food exporter.
Wikipedia: Website https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yam_production_in_Nigeria