Apr 15, 2009

News: Nigeria planning to export $200 million in yams and cassava ...

FoodBizDaily.com (press release) - Westport,CT,USA
Lagos April 13 2009 (FoodBizDaily) - Nigeria has gone a long way in producing new and improved varieties of root and tuber crops, and the country’s success story in this field may, in all probability, be soon extended to it being elevated to the position of being the number one producer of yams, cocoyams, and cassava in the world through its export of these crops.

At present, the production volume of yams is 32 metric tonnes in a year. Preparations are on in full swing, already, to get on with the exportation of the tuber crop to the European Union (EU). This is expected to fetch foreign exchange earnings to the tune of $200 million.

Dr Kenneth Nwosu, by the Executive Director of the National Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike, made the announcement to this effect on the eve of the opening ceremony of the 2009 annual research review and planning workshop of the institute.

The NRCRI would collaborate with the Nasarawa State government and a United Kingdom-based company to make possible and execute the export of yam tubers to the European Union countries, he informed.
“This programme may turn out to be the saving grace in insulating Nigeria from the global economic melt down as close to $200 million trade could be created,” Nwosu stated.

Evaluating the highlights of the accomplishments of the institute, the NRCRI boss said that the institute has “substantially contributed to the national food security and food sufficiency through its agricultural research and extension activities on root and tuber crops.” He stated that the institute has been exceptional in its achievements, as it is highly commendable to note that Nigeria still retains its position as the world’s number one producer of yam, cocoyam, and cassava with an overall annual output of 32, 5 and 45 million metric tons, respectively.

“Technologies developed at the institute have contributed immensely in placing Nigeria at this global level,” Nwosu pointed out; he also added that “with the recent government positive intervention in funding agricultural research, production of these crops are expected to double by the year 2020.”

Mrs. Fidelia Akuabata Njeze, the Minister of State for Agriculture, said in her address that the ministry was “highly pleased” at the country’s position as the number one producer in the world of yam, cassava, and cocoyam, “which is largely due to the aggressive research and extension efforts of this institute.”

It was the deputy director in the ministry, Dr Parry Nyandati, who read out Njeze’s address. In the address, he conveyed his particular interest in the advancement achieved by NRCRI in developing yam and cassava varieties which give high yields and which are resistant to diseases.

Njeze said, “It is a known fact that many of our farmers do not get adequate reward for their efforts because of low yielding disease prone traditional varieties which they are using. Your effort to replace the traditional varieties with high yielding disease resistant ones is therefore commendable.”

FoodBizDaily.com - Staff writer

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