In its further efforts towards boosting yam production across the country, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, has embarked on the training of Women and youths to promote the value chain of the crop.
While delivering a keynote address at a workshop for youths and women on value addition in yam production in Umudike, Abia State, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mrs. Karima Babaginda, said  the objective of the workshop was to build the capacity of women and youth in the modern techniques for processing of yam into different products.
She noted that one of the cardinal point of this administration is to increase production and reduce wastage, adding that part of the ministry’s policy would be inclusion of 35 percent of Women and in all its activities.
“The choice of women and youth wouldn’t have been more appropriate when the role of womenin nation-building is considered.
Women as we know, play a special role in the overall development of the country and there is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved.
“It is against this background that the value chain has taken the initiative to organise this training, which will lead to the springing up of many small scale yam processing factories.
“This training will also reduce post-harvest losses, complement the existing few factories and bring more money to the actors in the yam value chain, ” she said.
According to her, post-harvest losses have been the bane of yam production in Nigeria: with a loss of up to 40% on account of inadequate storage and processing facilities.
Babangida also emphasised the various uses of yam tubers by-products which can be harnessed for industrial uses, as it is used in production of all purpose- adhesives.
In addition, she also informed that yam starch is a good source of Pharmaceutical Grade Starch, PGS, which are used by industries in Europe where yam flour is used for the preparation of high quality biscuits, bread, cakes, among others.
On his part, Food Scientist and Tuber Processor/Lead Auditor, ISO, Dr. R.M Omodamiro said West Africa ranks as the highest producer of yam across the world.
According to him, world yam production is about 30 million tons of yam tubers per year which 90 percent is being produced in West Africa.
Omodamiro further outlined the importance of the crop, which he said has the longest shell-life amongst root crops productivity per unit, as it also serves as bride pride in some parts of the region.

 


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