Reps. To Probe Agriculture Ministry, Others Over Alleged Exportation Of Rotten Yams

The House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Agricultural Production and Services and Customs and Excise to investigate the Federal Ministry of Agriculture regarding exportation of yam tubers.The House alleged that the ministry disregarded the law prohibiting exportation of yam tubers.Others expected to be probed were Comptroller-General of Customs and the Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Director-General, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Head, Nigerian Quarantine Service and heads of all other relevant agencies.The decision of the House followed a motion by Rep. Jonathan Gaza.The lawmaker had moved a motion on the “Need to Determine Why Food Products Prohibited from Exportation are being exported and also did not meet international standards.’’Leading the debate on the motion, Gaza said the exported, rotten yams had raised concern about the capacity of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to check the quality of goods billed for export.He said the worry became more worrisome especially in the case of MDAs charged with the responsibility of conducting necessary on such goods.According to him, the development also called to question the safety of food approved for local consumption by those MDAs.“Recall that 72 tonnes of yam tubers were exported sometime in June 2017 but were rejected by the United States of America as they were found to have rotten upon arrival.He said the development had caused the nation great embarrassment.“It is now obvious that produce approved for export by the government do not meet with world standards for exportation.’’“The (Prohibition) Act, Cap. E22, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 lists Beans, Cassava tuber, Maize, Rice, Yam tuber and their product derivatives as goods absolutely prohibited from exportation from Nigeria.“A Bill for an Act to repeal the provisions of the Export Prohibition Act has recently passed second reading in the House.’’Lawmakers, who spoke in favour of the motion, advised that the country should look inward to add value to agricultural produce as the case in Ghana and other countries, before exporting.The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Rep. Yakubu Dogara.The Federal Government had in June launched the yam exportation programme.It projected to earn 10 billion dollars in foreign exchange in the next four years, in an effort aimed at diversifying the oil-dependent economy.

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