‘Grow some yam’, Nigerian Minister advises critics of govt. export policy

Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has advised critics of the Federal Government yam export policy to grow the commodity.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, Mr. Ogbeh dismissed the criticisms of the policy, saying the effort was in the best interest of the nation’s economy.Farming

He said the energies being dissipated by critics in condemning the initiative could be better used to produce yam, a staple in most parts of the country.

The minister allayed the fears of some Nigerians who believed that the policy would lead to shortage of yam in the country.

According to him, there is currently a glut in yam production in the domestic market.

“I have seen attacks on the social media. There are questions all over as to why we are exporting yam when Nigerians are said to be hungry.

“With all due respect, Nigeria accounts for 61 per cent of the world output of yam. We have 60 varieties of yam in this country.

“In fact, 30 per cent of the yams we produce get rotten because we don’t have facilities to preserve them.

“Ghana is a famous country for exportation of the commodity, but most of the yam they export is from us.

“There has never been shortage of yam in the country. Prices might be high toward the end of the season, but new yam is already in the market.

“Why are you so cowardly? Why lay back by not trying anything because of some sentimental reasons that might be raised,’’ the minister asked.

Critics of the policy believe that investment in local processing of yams into finished products is of more economic benefit to the country than exporting the commodity.

But the minister dismissed this suggestion, arguing that export made more economic sense than processing.

“Analysts are saying that we are supposed to add more value to yam production in order to earn more money, fantastic view.

“But they forget to tell us how much a tuber of yam costs in the USA. Three kilogrammes cost 15 dollars, which is equivalent to about N5, 000.

“In London, a carton of yam, this contains three tubers, costs 30 pounds, bringing the average cost per tuber to 10 pounds.

“At that price, it is more sensible to export to earn more money for our economy.

“Economy is 90 per cent common sense. You can’t keep on buying until you are broke. What are you selling?” he asked.

To further buttress his point, the minister said foreign trade partners came to complain when Nigeria limited its food imports.

“They complained that we were not buying stock fish from them. I asked them if they were buying anything from us. Let us do some selling as well too.

“Nigerians should stop the sarcasm and negativity in trying to rubbish every government policy. If Ghana can export yam, Nigeria too can.”

The minister commended the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) for setting guidelines for yam exporting, promising that the standards would be adhered to.

Mr. Ogbeh urged the commissioners of agriculture in states to keep on educating farmers to use the right yam seedlings to increase their output.(NAN)


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  • FreeNigeria

    having this stone age man with his ancient idea is part of the problems we’re facing in this country. Soon he’d advocate using coin pay phone as a solution bad telecom infrastructure

    • durotimi oye

      A whole federal minister of agriculture telling us to go and plant yam, this man does not realise that agriculture in 2017 is all about mechanised farming, uncle Audu is still thinking on the line of subsistence farming.

      • FreeNigeria

        Can you imagine? This man is too old to be useful to himself. Just like Buhari was referring to Germany, as West Germany while he’s in Germany last year. These guys are lost in today’s world

        • Ad Andy

          All the so called young blood, heading the ministry all this while, what are their performances/ achievements?

          • FreeNigeria

            It shows Nigeria has been held hostage by the wrong people bent on destroying the county

          • Ad Andy

            So what is ur dispute with the minister submission?or ur problem with him is his old age

          • FreeNigeria

            his inefficiency, ancient thinking and everything about him that’s not moving Nigeria forward.

          • Ad Andy

            U are entitled to ur opinion, but, ur opinion may be very wrong

      • Ad Andy

        Those farmers cultivating yam now still used the old methods , the entry qualification to crop farming is free,so Notting stop you from plating yours and sell it at local market

      • kinsly

        If you don’t have mechanisation so we should sit at home doing nothing like you? Plant the yam first ,from your initial profits begin to plan for mechanised farming.

        • durotimi oye

          You and uncle audu ogbe have the same peasant way of thinking so I won’t bother arguing with you.

    • pheliciti

      Don’t attack his person…attack his argument with superior logic, otherwise keep quiet. You people jump on the bandwagon without thinking. If their is a market for more yam, invest in agric and earn money from the opportunity don’t just indulge in lazy abuse.

      • kinsly


      • Chisom Stanley Nnodimele

        Thanks for that shot. Even the Indians , Chinese, Jamicans to mention a few, eat yam. He is following the trend of supply and demand.

    • Ad Andy

      Social media critics, is like saying we should not export our crude until we developed the capacity to refined it.

      • Gary

        So why is it unthinkable to do both – export yams as well as processed yam products?

        Why is it wrong to say we should think beyond just exporting raw produce but look at adding to the value chain?
        Whenever we engage in public policy debates, Nigerians think as if positions are mutually exclusive. We have been exporting cocoa and crude oil for fifty years to the point that nobody thought of making cocoa products or refined petroleum to meet domestic consumption much less than for export. And it was with the regional market in mind that Nigeria led the formation of ECOWAS so that we would be the industrial hub of the subregion.

        Instead, it is the Ghanaians who come to buy Nigerian Garri for packaging to export to Europe and America. Pa Audu is now telling us that they are doing the same with Nigerian yams.
        Pa, please it’s possible to two things at once – like combing your hair and eating groundnuts. Take advice or criticism in good faith.

        • Ad Andy

          Notting is wrong in exporting and processing, but yam processing is not the role of government, but private sector to take up the profits advantage in yam. But I doubt those companies may not be able to compete globally due to lack of necessary infrastructure needed . Therefore exporting it is the viable option for now until the necessary environment is in place

          • Gary

            By the same token, exporting of yams is not also the business of government but the farmers who do so. But we know the production for exports have resulted from official support which can also be done with the value chain.
            Nigeria is currently taking loans from China for Rice processing so that we can also produce parboiled Rice. Same can be done for Yams.

            So stop arguing blindly in defense of officialdom who should learn to accept valid counter-opinions or criticism.

            Those in government, especially the gerontocrats, should be open to new ideas for the country to make progress.
            Just like most Nigerians laughed when Mr. Adesina came up with the idea of giving farmers cell phones to help them with crop production.
            The guy just won a global award for his efforts in boosting food production in Nigeria.

      • kinsly

        Thanks bro.

    • AryLoyds

      Audu is a real disappoint on agricultural policy. What is yam? Why not a better cash crop like rice , cocoa and even rubber? This man likes yam so much oh!

      • kinsly

        There are more than 100million Africans overseas, most consuming yam. Here in Belgium a tuber of yam is 5-6euros ,you can make the currency conversion yourself.

        • AryLoyds

          Do they all eat yams in these countries? Let me tell you they are better crops that are in demand around the world that can earn better FX .Try growing and exporting even corn!

        • princegab

          Don’t mind the idiots

      • Dr

        U are blinded by sentiments, with a target of 6b USD, U don’t see yam export as anything and another 7b USD worth of Cashew nuts to be supplied a US company, Wallmart and then an unprecedented 2 Trillion turns of local rice produced locally within 2 yrs. You don’t see all these, wake up, pls

    • kinsly

      What are your own ideas?

    • Chisom Stanley Nnodimele

      You can only see how these policy will work if you travel out wide. How can we give back too little to the government? A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a step. Everybody is thinking on what Nigeria can do for him or her, My question is this! what have we given to Nigeria?

      • FreeNigeria

        Are you kidding? what have we given to Nigeria? What has the looters given Nigeria? These looters enjoyed full scholarships, bursary and lot others from Nigeria. They turned around and looted it to the ground, denying younger generations the same thing they enjoyed. How do you farm yam when we don’t have tractors, fertilizers and other modern farming tools. is the agriculture ministry researching high yield and drought and pest resistant yam or any other crops? man sit down

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  • aboki

    They would never understand the economic implications and positive output on Nigeria.
    To move forward we have start from somewhere to reach the promise land.
    Chinese Population is in billion despite that they’re feeding themselves and exporting the expired to as we believe in Foreign food.
    A NATION with food security is a panacea to progress and development.
    Nigeria cannot boast of ten factories or industries with a work force of two thousands personal apart of THREE TIE GOVERNMENT.
    We are living witnesses of KIDNAPPER BILLIONAIRE traumatizing his kins men and his people are even calling for his release. NIGERIAN ke nan.
    The quest for quick money by engaging in those uncultured and negative vices cannot take Nigeria anywhere.
    NIGERIAN YOUTH should please wake up and see the road clearly please!
    The exportation of our agricultural products should be a welcome development if we can reflect historical benefits in groundnut, cocoa palm OIL and hides and skin to mentioned but few. As nothing good comes easy!

    • kinsly

      Good one.

    • Chisom Stanley Nnodimele

      In every swamp in China, they planted something. Thanks for that insight!

  • omo56

    And this is the best person APC can find to replace theformer minister?

    • Ad Andy

      The former minister that glorified fertiliser subsidies, buying phone for farmers as an achievement. While the the so called old man eliminated subsidy of fertilizer and can boost of increased in local fertilizer production, with physical evidence of increase of food production throughout the country. achievements is not grammar

      • kinsly

        Gbam. Teach the mugu.

    • Dr

      This Minister is the best in the history of the ministry of agriculture, Adesina had good initiatives, but there was no political will by the leadership of the nation, the Anchor Borrowers Program under his watch was a monumental monumental fraud. Now under the current minister, within 2 yrs, Nigeria is producing an unprecedented 2 Trillion turns of Rice locally, the ABP program has now produced thousands of millionaires in the country, local farmers have been turned into kings, yams which ordinarily got rotten in villages of Benue State are now being exported, soon cashew nuts worth billions of dollars will supplied to Wallmart and the list goes on and on. Wake up from your slumber

  • Eyo Bassey Bassey

    lazy man talk and sounds more like an illiterate response because it should be a thing of shame to talk back at sensible ideas looking at the challenges highlighted by the minister and so, the minister should appreciate critics for helping him think rather than talk back at them except he feels creating jobs in Ghana will benefit Nigeria else he should look deeply into the criticism and act like an intelligent minister rather than make statements on non existing achievements……

    • Dr

      You are so blinded by sentiments U will never see the achievements being recorded. Take it or leave it exporting Yams is a giagantic step towards pulling Nigeria from being a mono Economy. Turkey is gradually becoming a force to reckon with in global affairs. Thanks to it its growing GDP, 25 % of which comes from export of agricultural produce, including tomatoes, tea etc. Soon Nigeria will be free from the clutches of a so called ‘golden goose. Go and plant Yams if you care

    • Chisom Stanley Nnodimele

      Whats you point of argument? If you travelled out to places like Houston Texas, you will see people who planted things like Bitter leaf, Okazie coupled with Yam in there back yards. Even in places like Paris or Amsterdam Afro Shops, in and all over europe sell products exported from countries you can’t compare to Nigeria..Lets give credit to he who deserves it. If l may ask, what is the Nigerian population? Should farming be left to only the retired army officers?

  • Ola

    It is just a pity that most Nigerians don’t even know that the Minster is a successful commercial farmer and also an exporter of agricultural produce.

    We are asking the government to diversify the economy and engage in developing our agricultural sector to become exporters but rather than give credit for the improvements we are making , we are condemning.

    Should we rather keep using theoreticians like Dr. Adesina or young guys who has never planted any crop in his life.

    Audu Ogbe comes with a life long experience of a practicing commercial farmer, an exporter and patriotic Nigerian willing to serve and improve the lot of Nigerians .

  • Chisom Stanley Nnodimele

    Na wa for Nigerian’s O ! Why do we shout on every government policy that will be of benefit to our economic growth? The last time l checked in Berlin, Amsterdam, and in Birmingham England almost every Afro Shop there sells Yam exported from Ghana.Even in big supermarkets like ASDA and co, these products are there. From Pineapple canned in Kenyan to Okra exported from India. What in the God makes Nigeria the giant of Africa? People shout shot up or put up.