–Says Exporter Did Not Get Due Clearance
By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
The Coordinating Director of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service(NAQS) Dr. Vincent Isegbe has said Nigeria yam was not rejected but rather had issues of logistics
He also said the yam exported to the UK was not cleared by the agency as the cargo was not available for inspection by the NAQS at the point of take off.
Speaking while briefing Newsmen in Abuja yesterday, Dr Isegbe said the yam was not rejected and yam export to US had no issue, except that of the UK which was not cleared by officers of the NAQs.
He said “Any exporter/ farmer that engages NAQS in its exportation process has always succeeded,adding that our processes are stringent but satisfying and rewarding”
The Coordinating director who said “Nigeria export of yam via a West African country had been ongoing yet Nigeria never ran out of yam assure now that Nigeria is taking charge of exporting yam,it will not cause scarcity of yam for local consumption”
He assured that no matter the logistic challenge experienced by the exporter of yam to the UK,Nigeria is very determined and committed to yam export.
Further lamenting the aging population of farmers Dr Isegbe said as a solution Nigeria has developed yam heap making machine to increase production. And encourage the youth to explore yam cultivation and production.
He urged that farmers and exporters endeavor to contact NAQS for avoidance of rejection adding that value added yam derivatives like frozen yam chips,yam flour and poundo have been processed and developed by the organised private sector
In an earlier statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr Olukayode Oyeleye, he said , the exporters to the UK and US have emphatically said that their consignments were successfully cleared at the ports and delivered to their various warehouses.
“They said, although some cases of tuber spoilage were reported in both cases, these were separated from the good ones, and the good ones were distributed to the buyers.
Quoting one of the exporters Mr. Michael Adedipe of ADES UK Foods and Drinks for the UK, Oyeleye said “Adedipe deplored the AIT report and other subsequent commentaries about rejection of his yams by the UK authorities”.
In his words “Adedipe has said emphatically that the consignment was not rejected; “It was cleared.”
According to Adedipe, who confirmed that he spoke to AIT: “I’ve watched the (TV) programme which lasted for about two hours. All the positive stuff removed. We that decide to venture in this project are aware of the risks involved because, this fresh produce … we’ll expect five or 10 per cent damages. I don’t know why they said the product got rejected. I’ve sent my release note. I’ve sent video of loading. I have sent every documentation to say that there is no issue like that at all.”
“On the spoilage of yam, Adedipe explained that “the failure has nothing to do with the ministry of agriculture, but the Nigerian Ports Authority. That’s where I see the failure.
” He expressed disgust at the mishandling of his comments by the AIT reporter, saying: “I told him, he is aware of it. He knew about the delay, I told him about all the consignment. He knew every single thing that happened. But what he did the most is to use all the negative stuff. We talked about other things. I told him how I came into the UK to go and fix our problem. All those were removed from the report.”
Adedipe, who has vowed not to stop yam export business, disclosed that “the other mistake was the shipping line we used. But they were the ones that were available.” According to him, in spite of the sour experience with media report, “I’m willing to invest. I still expect…at least to take a container from Nigeria every week.”
Managing Director, Wan Nyikwagh Farms Nigeria Limited, Mr Yandev Amaabai, has strongly disputed the yam rejection story and said it doesn’t even tally. “The story from AIT was focused on UK. So far, I am the only person who has lifted yam to the US. Whatever we can do to clarify this issue will be good. We learn as we progress. The whole idea that government brought was to diversify the economy.”
My goods actually got to the US on September 7, 2017. The ship berthed on September 2, 2017, but, because of the flooding in Texas, we couldn’t discharge until the 7th. They were cleared from the Customs and brought to the warehouse on the 7th. Yams are perishable items and, definitely, some may go bad on the way. But, this statement that says the American government rejected Nigerian yams, where does it come from?
“Our yams were released to us and we took them to the stores. We sorted out our yams when they got there. We distributed them to the off-takers. So, where they got this story from, I don’t know” he said