The House of Representatives has disclosed plans to investigate the export of rotten yams to the United States of America.
Recall that the federal government in June, 2017, launched the yam exportation programme, projected to earn 10 billion dollars in foreign exchange in the next four years.
The house therefore mandated its Committee on Agricultural Production, Services and Customs to investigate the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh on reasons for the disregard of the law of the federation, prohibiting the exportation of Beans, Cassava tuber, Maize, Rice, Yam tuber and their product derivatives.
Also expected to appear before the joint Committees are: Controller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo, Director General of the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) and Head of the Nigerian Quarantine Service under Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Osita Aboloma.
The resolution was passed, following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Jonathan Gaza (APC-Nasarawa) by the house. The motion was titled “Need to determine why food products prohibited from exportation are being exported and also do not meet international standards”.
He disclosed that the Federal Government has, in the bid to increase agricultural products exportation, disregarded a subsisting law and carried on the exportation of some of the above goods expressly prohibited from exportation.
“The recent report that 72 tonnes of yam tubers that were exported sometime in June 2017 were rejected by the United States of America as they were found to have rotten upon arrival is causing the nation great embarrassment as it is now obvious that products approved for export by the government do not meet with world standards for exportation”, he said.
Reacting to this, Mohammed Kazaure (APC-Jigawa) said that Nigeria, with her high level of poverty should not be exporting food crops as this makes certain staples scarce and exorbitantly priced in the market.
Other lawmakers, who spoke in favour of the motion, advised that the country should look inward to add value to agricultural products just like Ghana and other countries, before exporting.
However, Johnson Agbonayinma (PDP-Edo) and Peter Akpatason (APC-Edo) who spoke against the motion urged the House not to lose focus of the idea behind the Yam – Export initiative of the Federal Government in order to diversify the economy.