Contrary to claims by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, that the authorities of the United States have rejected yam exports from Nigeria, an exporter has said it is not true.
A Nigerian yam exporter, Dr. Timothy Ijir, who is based in the United States, has said that the US authorities did not reject any yam exports from Nigeria.
On June 29, Nigeria started to export yams to Europe and the United States, as part of moves to diversify its oil-dependent economy and earn much-needed foreign exchange.
The minister had complained that the US rejected yam exports from Nigeria because of their poor quality, adding that his Ministry would investigate the matter.
“I have been mandated to brief on one or two developments in the agricultural sector. One, is a new development about the consignment of yams which was exported from here to the US which according to report we heard today, was found to be of poor quality.
“The ministry will investigate because the ministry is not an exporter; exporters are private sector people. We will investigate both the company that exported it and asked our quarantine department to check and find out why such a consignment left here,’’ Ogbeh had said.
However, in an interview with Sunday Punch on Saturday, the exporter said:
“I am the only person who has imported Nigerian yams into the US and I can say without equivocation that they were not rejected. Any statement to the contrary is false and misguided.
“Some of the statements and quotes credited to the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources are false. I am currently working on importing my next consignment. Our US Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration import permit is still valid.”