Some stakeholders in the yam value chain have appealed to the Federal Government to sign relevant trade agreements with the EU to facilitate free duty yam export to Europe.
They made the appeal in a communiqué issued in Abuja, on Sunday, at the end of a four-day study tour by Nigerian yam stakeholders to the Republic of Ghana.
The document was signed by Prof. Simon Irtwange, the President, National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers and Chairman, Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export Programme.
The stakeholders noted in the communiqué that Nigeria yam export to the UK attracted a duty (tax) of 9.5 Euros per 100 kg, unlike in Ghana where yam farmers and exporters enjoyed free duty.
According to them, the aim of the tour is to enable Nigeria get a knowledge of standards and systems put in place by Ghana that led to their success stories in yam production, storage, processing, packaging and export.
It added the tour was also to enhance the development and growth of the country’s yam sub-sector of the economy, to ensure it became a major export commodity to boost foreign exchange.
They said the Federal Government through the Nigeria Export Promotion Council should also support exporters of yam and value added products with export finances through NEXIM Bank and other funding agencies.
He added: “The government of Ghana has signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and provisional application of the EU Free Trade Agreement.
“The trade agreement with the EU makes it possible for Ghana yam exporters to export yams to Europe and the UK duty free. The Federal Government should sign this agreement.
“They should also assist by way of pre-export incentives for yam exporters and the provision of warehouse in Lagos to serve as a National Yam Export Pack House.
“Assist with the production of cartons/boxes for yam exporters and assist with one-off purchase of two cold trucks to support transportation and export logistics.’’
The stakeholders, however, called for a one-stop shop for the inspection of yams before export.
He said: “There should be rationalisation of bureaucracy in yam export making provision for only three agencies located under one roof as a one-stop-shop.
“The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, and Nigeria Customs Service, should be the agencies for the inspection of yams before export.’’
The National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers, in conjunction with the Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export organised the tour.
The tour was supported by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa, Phase II Project of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan.