Mr. Audu Ogbeh, please explain why the recent rejections of yam export from Nigeria to UK & US should not be a national scandal and why heads should not roll

“I read some news report about some yams arriving in Britain and being rejected. They stayed so long en route and if they stay that long, they are bound to rot.
“It happens to yams from Ghana as well. We will not stop the policy of the exportation of yam. I can assure you that.
“It is a policy that will stay because we are the largest producers of yams in the world. We produce 67 per cent of the yams..." - Audu Ogbeh, Nigeria's Minister for Agriculture
Audu Ogbeh

  • Despite being the largest producer of yam, Nigeria is not among the highest exporter of this commodity.
  • On June 29, 2017 Nigeria began exporting yam.
  • 72 tonnes of yam exported to the US  in June were rejected because they did not meet quality standards.
  • Another batch very recently exported to the UK also met the same fate.
Our take on the matter
  • The minister making reference to Ghana as having their yams rejected is shameful. Should it make us feel good that at least we are in the same boat? Unfortunately we are not because between 2005 and 2010, yam production in Ghana contributed about 16 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In Ghana, there is a national Yam Development Strategy and Yam Export Strategy aimed at increasing export volumes from the current 35,000 metric tonnes to as high as 400,000 metric tonnes with expected revenue of about $5 billion by 2018.
  • Let us blame the US rejection on learning curve, they were learning the ropes we assume.
  • The second rejection by the UK shows sheer incompetence and unseriousness on the part of all the stakeholders involved from the Ministry of Agriculture to the exporters and all the government agencies inbetween.
  • Didn't they learn anything from the first rejection? Are they so clueless and incompetent they couldn't work assiduously to improve on subsequent exports?
  • We opine that agriculture is the quickest way to diversify Nigeria's economy yet this scenario playing out shows unseriousness on the part of the government.
  • Soon, this crude oil that has become our bane with either dry up or become useless as the world inches closer to full dependence on clean energy. We hope the minister knows that countries like France, India, Norway, Britain and even China, the largest automobile market have already made known their intentions to ban the production/sale/use of cars powered by petrol and diesel. We are most certain that the US will tow the same line, never mind the 'bragado' 45 is doing now by withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. 
  • Mr. Audu, what do you think will happen if Nigeria have not diversified the economy especially through Agriculture by then?
  • This is a kind reminder that your ministry is more important than NNPC and all the oil blocs. 

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