Prof. Simon Irtwange, National President, National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers said mechanisation would upscale production and quality of yams as an export crop.
Irtwange said this at a stakeholders’ workshop on Repositioning Yam as an Export Crop on Tuesday in Abuja,
He said yam is a food security crop with enormous potential as a foreign exchange earner.
“If we are going to upscale production and produce quality yams that we can export, then we need to look at our production.
“Can we change from heaps to the ridges? In this case, we can bring in mechanisation and we will be able to produce yam in the size and shape required for export.
Capt. John Okpaka, a stakeholder in the private sector, said certification and traceability of the yams meant for export were very important.
“There is a need for a good system of yam production to be developed for export to meet up with quality,“ he said.
He said that there was a need to look at agriculture as a business that must be private-sector driven.
Okpaka advised yam farmers and other stakeholders to form cooperative groups, and understand and comply with the regulations concerning yam export.
Mr Jonathan Oladeji, Chief Executive Officer, Sonjade Nigeria Limited, expressed concern over the challenges in the yam value chain.
He said that being able to trace the source of the yam for export was very important in repositioning the yam sector in Nigeria.
Dr Beatrice Aighewi, a Yam Seed System Specialist, said that export of yam was grossly unexploited partly due to inadequate information about export requirements.
“The seed is the starting point of improving our export, the produce is as good as your seed. Yam provides food and income to millions of people in Nigeria.
“Yam is a food security crop that has an enormous potential as a foreign exchange earner,” She said.