By Nicholas Dechi
Synergos Nigeria is building a yam conditioning centre at Yandev in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.
The Deputy Field Manager of Synergos, Mr Michael Agon, disclosed this in Makurdi on Tuesday at the training of 70 leaders of yam cooperative societies and women groups drawn from across the state
He said that the centre would serve as a hub for the collection, cleaning, conditioning and packaging of yams for exports.
Agon said that the yam farmers were being trained to enable them to sensitise others in their localities to the specific requirements of the recent yam export programme.
According to him, at the end of the series of training, they will be linked to export markets and marketers so as to boost their income and means of livelihood.
He said that the training was a follow-up to the formal launch of the yam export initiative in Lagos in June.
A resource person, Prof. Simeon Irtwange, said that the export potential of yam was high because the global yam business was worth an estimated 13.7 billion U.S. dollars.
Besides, Irtwange said that the consumption of yam exceeded that of other African staple crops, adding that its level of consumption was equivalent to the combined consumption level of maize, rice and sorghum.
“Nigeria is the largest producer of yam and the commodity is cultivated for local consumption in every part of the country,” he said.
He commended Synergos for supporting the National Yam Committee thus far and believing in its yam export drive.
Some of the participants told NAN that they happy about the training they had so far received.
Mrs Bridget Oroungwa, Mrs Becky Iyongo, Mr Rose Ugo, however, called for the sustenance of the training because it would broaden the crop cultivation and processing skills of the country’s yam farmers.
NAN reports that Synergos is an international non-profit organisation which aims to reduce global poverty through partnerships between government, business, the civil society and local communities. (NAN)