Published On: Thu, Oct 12th, 2017

Reps probe Agric Ministry over rotten yams export

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Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh

By Umar Muhammad Puma

The House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Agricultural Production Customs and Excise to investigate the Ministry of Agriculture’s disregard of the law prohibiting the exportation of yam tubers.
Recall that 72 tonnes of yam tubers were exported sometime in June 2017 but were rejected by the United States of America as they were found to have been rotten upon arrival, thereby causing the nation great embarrassment as it is now obvious that produce approved for export by the government do not meet with world standards for exportation.
The resolution of the House followed the adoption of a motion moved by Rep Jonathan Gaza entitled “Need to Determine Why Food Products Prohibited from Exportation are being Exported and also do not Meet International Standards”.
Rep Jonathan worried that the exported rotten yams raised concern about the capacity of Ministries, Departments and Agencies charged with the responsibilities of conducting necessary checks on quality of goods billed for export to diligently carry out the assignments.
He said this calls to question the safety of food approved for local consumption by those Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The lawmaker reminded the House that “the Schedule of the Export (Prohibition) Act, Cap. E22, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 lists Beans, Cassava tuber, Maize, Rice, Yam tuber and their product derivatives as goods absolutely prohibited from exportation from Nigeria adding that a Bill for an Act to repeal the provisions of the Export Prohibition Act, had recently passed second reading in the House”.
Majority who supported the motion raised, advised that the country should look inward to add value to agricultural produce as the case in Ghana and other countries before exporting.
The likes of Mr. Mohammed Ganduje (APC, Jigawa) while in support also, condemned the exportation of agricultural product.
According to him, it is only when a country has been able to satisfy its population that it can think of exportation.
The Federal Government had earlier launched the yam exportation program with a projection of earning $10 billion in foreign exchange in the course of the next four years as part of measures to diversify its oil-dependent economy by tilting towards the export of agricultural products.
The committee is also expected to the Comptroller-General of Customs, the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, the Director General of the Standards Organization of Nigeria and Head of the Nigerian Quarantine Service and Heads of all other relevant Agencies to explain they granted export license for food products prohibited from exportation.

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