Mr Michael Adedipe, a UK-based Yam off-taker, on Thursday said the exportation of the commodity would succeed with easy access to Apapa Port.
Adedipe, the Managing Director, ADES Food and Drinks, London, made the observation in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from his base in London.
He was the UK off-taker at the June 2016 inauguration of the Nigerian yam export to the UK and U.S.
“The Nigeria Ports situation is too delicate for anybody who wants to make money from perishable goods like yam to go through the delays before such a person gets the yam containers on board a ship.
“Yam is a perishable product; if I cannot guarantee that from Iddo to Apapa Ports, l can get my yam containers inside in two hours, it will be difficult for me to be an off-taker for Nigeria’s yam export.
“That is why l stopped; I lost money the last time being the UK off-taker; and l tried to explain to them that the problem is port congestion.
“But nobody wants to listen; some people even said we sent bad yams from Nigeria to UK and U.S.
“Even if you send the best yams from Nigeria and put it under the delay that we experienced at the ports, even if it is in any other ports, the best yam will spoil,” he said.
Adedipe said that with the current ports’ condition in Nigeria, the best yams would spoil before they get to their destinations.
He said that in another attempt to export high-grade yams early in 2019, two out of the five containers had problems on arrival in UK as a result of ports congestion and delays.
Adedipe said that it was easy to take yam from Ghana as the country had perfected its yam export to UK; adding that it would be difficult for Nigeria to compete with the Ghanaians in terms of export.
He said that in two months, about 100 yam containers from Ghana arrived UK intact; while none was coming from Nigeria even though Nigeria had better grade yams than Ghana.
Adedipe said that the country’s Export Promotion Council and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture should experiment with five farmers, five exporters and five off-takers by engaging in some supplies to see if it would work.
He said that the templates would then be used for other yam stakeholders.