The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday gave approval for the establishment of six cashew processing factories for export.
These factories, Council said would be cited in the cashew belt areas of Enugu, Imo, Benue, Kogi, Kwara and the Oyo States to meet the export demand of 130,000 tonnes valued at $7 billion per annum.
This came as the Federal Government will today in Lagos begin export of yams with a consignment of 72 metric tonnes to the UK.Nigeria has consistently been reckoned globally as the largest producer of yams, at various times accounting for between 65 and 76 percent of the world production.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report, in 1985, reported that Nigeria produced 18.3 million metric tonnes of yam from 1.5 million hectares, representing 73.8 per cent of total yam production in Africa.
Addressing State House Correspondents after the meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe also disclosed government’s plan to commence massive export of varieties of beans to India.
He said, “these things are coming because Nigeria is beginning to focus on non-oil export. Once you can diversify your economy, if something goes wrong in one sector you can hang on to the other.’’
On yam export, Ogbe said “we don’t even consume all the yams we produce here because most of it is lost to wastage because of poor technologies in preservation. “We are going to solar coolers in yam markets and yam producing areas to keep the temperature at 14 degrees Celsius, not frozen but to keep it at that temperature so that it can be good all year round and can last up to two to three years in the containers.
“The market in agric is huge, the prospects are large. It’s about improving on our strategies at home and getting all our states to get involved.“For us to go abroad and not find Nigerian yams in the market, it is an embarrassment. Ghana is targeting $4 billion of yams in the next three years and if they can do that, we who are the masters of yam production have no business lagging behind,” the minister said.
Also, FEC yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) for the procurement of contraceptive in the country for four years.
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, disclosed that Council also gave approval for a memorandum for the inclusion of the member of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to prevent the worrisome incidence of death among youth corps members across the country. Also, Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, said Council deliberated on a draft roadmap for science and technology sector.
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