By Adebayo Waheed, Ibadan
The Federal Government has allayed the fear of Nigerians over the importation of yam, saying it will not cause artificial scarcity.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh who stated this during a courtesy visit to the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan insisted that exportation of yam was a laudable development that will not cause artificial scarcity or lead to increase in the price of the staple food at the local markets.
This is just as the minister identified Oyo State as strategic and significant to the drive by the country to be self-sufficient in food production and exportation of agricultural produce
Ogbeh is on a two-day working visit to the state, was expected to visit farm settlements, old ranches and allied locations, as well as attend a town hall meeting with farmers, youths, women and other stakeholders in agric business across the state, on Tuesday (today).
The minister said that his visit was meant to reawaken the consciousness of the people to the untapped potential in the agric value chain and the strategic importance of the state as partners in the federal government’s latest initiative to use agriculture for sustainable development.
Having recognized the state as hosting the largest number of poultry farms across the country, the minister said that the state could unequivocally be adjudged as the protein capital of the country.
The minister said that the concentration of cashew nuts in Ogbomoso was another opportunity that would be tapped by the FG, stressing that exportation of cashew nuts would no longer be allowed.
Allaying the fears of the people in relation to the decision of the government to begin yam exportation, the minister explained that it was a laudable development that would not have negative consequences on the country.
According to him, yam is already being illegally exported through the borders with the labels of other countries that did not plant them.
“Ogbomoso is the center of cashew nuts. We don’t have to export it anymore. We will harvest and process it as well. We won’t be exporting jobs meant for our people. We can export the finished product, but not the cashew nuts.
“We have enough yams to feeds us. Some are of the opinion that exportation of yam would cause scarcity or price increase, it is a lie. People were already exporting yam through our borders and the painful thing is that they label the package with the name of those other countries,” he said.
The minister said that the government had made available a large quantity of farm inputs like chemicals, fertilizer, tractors and others to farmers in the state at 60 per cent discount.