Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister Audu Ogbeh has said the country will formally start exporting yam to Europe today.
Chief Ogbeh said, in the first phase, 72 tonnes of yam will be exported to the United Kingdom.
Addressing a press conference in the capital, Abuja, he quoted a statistic from the Food and Agricultural Organization that Nigeria accounts for 61% of the total yam output in the world, but the tuber has not been exported.
For us to go abroad and not find Nigerian yam is an embarrassment.”
Mr Ogbeh pointed out that Ghana stood to earn $4bn (£3bn) from its yam exports in the next three to four years.
The agriculture minister said that as the diversification drive continued solar coolers would used to store the yam crop throughout the year.
However he feared that yam production would be hampered by many youth going to urban areas instead of farming in rural areas.
The ministry of agriculture has tweeted pictures of the yams being given their official send off.