By Fatima Muraina
Farmers have called for the removal of yam from the list of foods under the Prohibition Act of Nigeria in order to meet government’s expectation on yam value-addition.
Ondo State Chairman, Yam Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Peter Sasere made the call in Akure during the training of 50 youths and women on yam processing, packaging, value addition and utilisation in the South East, South South and South West region.
Sasere disclosed that the country produces up to 70 percent of the world’s total output which he said can boost the country’s foreign earnings.
“We beg government to give us enabling environment to grow and practice the business so that we can add value to the national economy,” he stated.
He also observed that the cargo project at the Akure Airport has been lying fallow, saying that such project will help to offtake the produce as yam is being demanded for in Canada, UK and even China where processed yam is required.
He also noted that the marketing structure is not in the favour of farmers because it is being marketed by weight rather than the scaling method.
Declaring the training open, the state Coordinator of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Akeem Ogundeko urged farmers to embrace the method of adding value to yam production, which he said is a very important crop compared to other staple foods.
He charged them to extend what they had gained from the training to others at their various communities.
Earlier, in his welcome speech, the state Project Manager of the Agricultural Development project (ADP), Mr Babasola Adeniyan said farmers should make the training an interactive one by sharing the knowledge acquired with others for an improved and high yield crop.
The resource person from the Extension Department of the state ADP, Mr Tajudeen Ibrahim noted that the training was necessary because of the losses of post harvesting of yam leading to glut.
He urged farmers to follow the normal steps they were taught to get the required result which he said would improve their standard of living if done appropriately.