The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) has released the conditions for yam exports to the U.S and UK to enable them meet international standards.
Dr Vincent Isegbe, the Coordinating Director of NAQS, told newsmen in Abuja on Thursday that the conditions were drawn up, following the consistent rejection of the country’s agricultural produce at the international market.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, on June 9 said that the country might commence exportation of yams by the end of June. The minister made the pronouncement through his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Dr Olukayode Oyeleye. Isegbe, however, said that NAQS would conduct thorough certification of the yams before they were exported. He said that the service would also sensitise farmers to the import requirements of the overseas countries. The coordinating director warned potential yam exporters to adhere strictly to the NAQS conditions so as to avoid the rejection of their produce at the point of export.
“We will painstakingly inspect each tuber of yam to ensure that the tubers meet the requirements before we certify them and issue the phytosanitary certification for their export. “The yam should be of uniform size and should not have a growth on its head; the head should also be cut off and waxed with candle to prevent infection.
“The yam should not have any nematode infection; it should be of uniform species and put in the carton in a particular way; it should be properly labelled and weighed. “If it is going to a particular country, the import conditions of that country on yam will be stated. “If it is going to be fumigated, the chemical for fumigation will be stated; so we will comply with the request of the importing country to ensure that those things are put in place. “As the farmers are preparing their farms, we want to know the location of their farms so that we can trace each tuber to a particular farm; that is one of the conditions,’’ he said.
Isegbe said that the country’s agro-commodities export potential was distorted for several decades as a result of poor quality control.NAN recalls that the minister once said that the Federal Government was committed to restoring the country’s glory in the agro-commodities export market.