Nigerian exporters concerned due to false reports of rejected yams

Some Nigerian exporters of yams to the UK and the U.S. have debunked certain media reports, purporting that the yams which were exported after the launch of an initiative were rejected at their export destinations.

A statement by Dr Olukayode Oyeleye, Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the Minister of Agriculture, in Abuja on Wednesday said that the exporters stressed that the reports, initially aired by a local television network, were false.

Oyeleye said that the yam export initiative, which was launched at Lilypond Container Terminal, Lagos, by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, had attracted widespread criticisms on various media platforms due to the misleading reports.

“The concerned exporters and other prospective exporters have expressed worries about the potential impact of the negative publicity on their prospects at the export market, in the wake of Federal Government’s initiative on diversification of the economy through agricultural produce export.

“Most commentators and analysts in the mainstream and social media have retold the negative aspect of the laudable initiative and have played up the wrong versions of the export story.

“Discussions with the exporters have since shown the prevailing storyline as inappropriate and misleading,’’ he added.

Oyeleye said that the yam exporters had emphatically said that their consignments were successfully cleared at ports in UK and the U.S. and delivered to their various warehouses.

“The exporters said that although some cases of tuber spoilage were reported in both cases, the bad ones were separated from the good ones, and the good ones were distributed to the buyers.

“The exporters noted that Ghana, which has been exporting yams for a while, routinely records cases of tuber spoilage without making an issue of it; and their yams don’t get rejected as a result, he said.

Oyeleye said that Mr Michael Adedipe of ADES UK Foods and Drinks, whose warehouse was visited by television station, had denounced the TV report and subsequent commentaries on the rejection of his yams by the British authorities.

He quoted Adedipe as saying: “The yams consignment was not rejected, it was cleared."

“I don’t know why they said that the produce got rejected. I’ve sent my release note; I’ve sent the video of the loading; I’ve even sent relevant documents to say that there is no issue like that at all."

“In spite of the sour experience with the media report, I am sustaining my investment; I still expect to take at least a container of yams from Nigeria every week.’’

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