The Technical Committee on Yam Export Programme has called for the sale of yam at farms and local markets by weight.
The Chairman of the committee, Prof. Simon Irtwange, made the call in an interview with the newsmen in Lagos .
According to him, the committee is considering ways to ensure a uniform measurement format for the sale of yam locally to correspond with international best practice.
“We need to bring a change in the way we do our marketing of yam in Nigeria.
“In Nigeria, we buy tubers of yam based on quantity.
“You pick five tubers, 10 tubers, may be 20 tubers, 100 tubers, and you begin to price them based on the quantity and grades.
“You have grade l, grade 2 or grade 3.
“In most cases, what the marketers do is that they mix the big tubers and the small ones and sell them to you as if all the tubers were of the same big size.
“Now, we say that there will be a need for us to change that because you cannot be buying yam in Nigeria based on numbers.
“But when you take it abroad, you are not going to sell based on the number; you are going to sell based on the weight of the tuber.
“Even, here in Nigeria, if you go to any Shoprite, they will sell it to you based on weight.
“We want to standardise the marketing structure in Nigeria, where we will also introduce the sale of yam by weight.’’
Irtwange said the case was becoming more compelling at the moment because some seed companies, supported by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), would come on stream soon.
He said that the companies would not be selling yam seedlings to farmers by quantity but by weight.
“We have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding and we have agreed on N400 per kilogramme of yam cutting.
“We cannot be buying yam cuttings by weight from the seed companies and be selling them by quantity and size.
“That will not add up.
“So, the most logical thing for us to do is to also begin to sell by weight.
“We are looking to link up with the Weight and Measures Department of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment so that we can work out a strategy on how to gradually introduce yam marketing by weight in Nigeria.’’
The chairman said that the focus of the committee was on how to introduce the selling of yam by weight.
He added that the committee had been putting people on notice, especially yam farmers and dealers, urging them to start getting ready because there would soon be a change.