By Ginika Okoye
Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government to establish modern yam conditioning centres for yams meant for export.
Prof. Simon Irtwange, the Acting President of the association, made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.
Irtwange, who is also the Chairman of Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export Programme, said that the proposed centres would enable farmers to store the yams at appropriate temperatures to prevent decay.
He said that the centres were also considered necessary as part of efforts to prevent “our yams from being rejected in the international market’’.
He said that the proposed centres would also facilitate efforts to reduce the costs of yam storage, transportation and export.
“ A yam conditioning centre is supposed to have a cooling system. The government should build modern yam conditioning centres so that the private sector can copy from it.
“It can use the modern yam conditioning centres to force down the general cost of operations,’’ he said.
Irtwange said that the second batch of yam exports to the United Kingdom (UK) was already being packaged in Benue for onward transloading to the Lagos ports.
He urged the government to intervene in efforts to overcome the delay of vehicles conveying agricultural produce in getting to their destinations, usually brought about by security agencies.
“We are trying to work out the transportation logistics so that everything will work out well.
“We want to have a seamless transmission of our agricultural produce from one place to another,’’ he said.
Irtwange lauded the wife of the Benue State Governor, Dr Eunice Ortom, for planning to train women yam farmers in the state in yam seedling production.
He said that the move would boost the yam export programme initiated by the Federal Government.
He, however, called on yam farmers to increase yam production to meet local and export demands.
NAN recalls that the Federal Government on June 29 launched the yam export programme with the exportation of 72 tonnes of yams to UK and the U.S. (NAN)