By Bridget Ikyado
Benue State will begin the processing, marketing and packaging of yam for export in June this year, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) said in Makurdi on Thursday.
Emmanuel Etim, Head of NEPC Export Assistance Office in Benue, disclosed this during a two-day stakeholders training and awareness for Nigerian Yam Export Programme.
The theme of the forum is “Developing Nigerian Yam for Export.”
He said that the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief Audu Ogbeh, would inaugurate the first batch of packaged Nigerian yam for export at Lagos port on June 26.
Etim said the programme was aimed at placing Nigeria as a key player in global market through strategic yam export development programmes.
According to him, the programme is also committed to creating adequate export awareness of the potentials of Nigeria yam.
Etim said the NEPC would transform Nigeria’s yam production, processing, packaging and warehousing to meet international standards, drawing from other countries’ yam export experiences.
In his speech, the minister said yam production in Benue could generate huge foreign exchange earnings if properly harnessed through aggressive export.
Ogbeh also said that it could also create employment opportunities, generate global esteem and grow the nation’s GDP.
According to him, aggressive national yam export development programme could help revamp the nation’s economy from its current recession.
Stakeholders at the forum undertook study tour of yam production centres in Benue.
Highlights of the forum included technical sessions on yam flour and yam chips processing and marketing, prospect and marketing standard requirements and take-off perspectives.