The Technical Committee on Yam Export has urged the National Assembly to amend the Export Prohibition Act of 1989 to facilitate the export of agricultural produce in Nigeria.
Professor Simon Irtwange, the chairman of the committee, who made the call on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said the amendment would boost export of yam.
"The Export Prohibition Act of 1989 runs contrary to the policy of the government on agriculture export. The Federal Government policy is diversification from oil to non-oil exports, which includes agriculture.
"We have a legislation that prohibits the export of agricultural produce in the country. There cannot be a law prohibiting the export of agricultural produce like rice, cassava, sorghum and yam, and the government officials and National Assembly members are talking about exporting the same commodities," he said.
Irtwange said that there was a conflict between the Export Prohibition Act and the country's desire to earn foreign exchange from yam export.
According to him, the Export Prohibition Act amendment is before the National Assembly.
"By passing the bill, the members would be including their names in the good books of facilitators of export of agricultural produce in the country," he said.
Irtwange said that the country could earn huge foreign exchange from the export of yam seedlings alone.
According to the professor, there are companies which are into yam seedling production now, with the capacity to feed the local farmers and for export.
The technical committee chief said because of the Export Prohibition Act of 1989, the committee was unable to meet its set target of 5,750 tonnes of yam export in 2018.
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