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Nigerian Yams Not Rejected Abroad—Exporters

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Nigerian Yams Not Rejected Abroad—Exporters

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The exporters of yam to the United Kingdom and the United States have disputed the reports, initially aired by the Africa Independent Television (AIT), purporting that the yams exported after the official flag-off ceremony on June 29, 2017 were rejected at their export destinations.

The symbolic event, done at the Lilypond Container Terminal in Lagos by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, meant to boost the morale of Nigerian exporters and make a bold statement to the global marketplace, has drawn widespread criticisms on various media platforms.

A statement issued by the Minister’s Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr Olukayode Oyeleye, stated that 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 retailed 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.

First, the exporters to the UK and US have emphatically said that their consignments were successfully cleared at the ports and delivered them to their various warehouses. They said, although some cases of tuber spoilage were reported in both cases, these 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 spoilage, without making any public issues therefrom; and their yams don’t get rejected as a result.

Mr Michael Adedipe of ADES UK Foods and Drinks for the UK, whose warehouse was visited by AIT, has deplored the AIT report and other subsequent commentaries about rejection of his yams by the UK authorities.

Mr Adedipe has said emphatically that the consignment was not rejected; “It was cleared.”

According to Mr Adedipe, who confirmed that he spoke to AIT, “I’ve watched the (TV) programme which lasted for about two hours. All the positive stuff removed. We that decide to venture in this project are aware of the risks involved because, this fresh produce … we’ll expect five or 10 percent damages. I don’t know why they said the product got rejected. I’ve sent my release note. I’ve sent video of loading. I’ve sent every documentation to say that there is no issue like that at all.”

On the spoilage of yam, Mr Adedipe explained that “the failure has nothing to do with the Ministry of Agriculture, but the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). That’s where I see the failure.”

He expressed disgust at the mishandling of his comments by the AIT reporter, saying: “I told him, he is aware of it. He knew about the delay, I told him about all the consignment. He knew every single thing that happened. But what he did the most is to use all the negative stuff. We talked about other things. I told him how I came into the UK to go and fix our problem. All those were removed from the report.”

Mr Adedipe, who has vowed not to stop yam export business, disclosed that “the other mistake was the shipping line we used. But they were the ones that were available.”

According to him, in spite of the sour experience with media report, “I’m willing to invest. I still expect…at least to take a container from Nigeria every week.”

Managing Director of Wan Nyikwagh Farms Nigeria Limited, Mr Yandev Amaabai, has strongly disputed the yam rejection story and said it doesn’t even tally.

“The story from AIT was focused on the UK. So far, I am the only person who has lifted yam to the US. Whatever we can do to clarify this issue will be good. We learn as we progress. The whole idea that government brought was to diversify the economy.”

“My goods actually got to the US on September 7, 2017. The ship berthed on September 2, 2017, but, because of the flooding in Texas, we couldn’t discharge until the 7th. They were cleared from the Customs and brought to the warehouse on the 7th. Yams are perishable items and, definitely, some may go bad on the way. But, this statement that says the American government rejected Nigerian yams, where does it come from?

“Our yams were released to us and we took them to the stores. We sorted out our yams when they got there. We distributed them to the off-takers. So, where they got this story from, I don’t know. Nobody has ever called from anywhere, even in the US, to ask me question. If a few yams got rotten, and I am not complaining, why are people crying more than the owner? I have all the papers. The Customs cleared my goods on the other side. And these things went to my warehouse from where we distributed.”

If Ghana, which produces 4.8 million tonnes of yams, according to 2008 estimates, occupies a niche as the leading exporter of crop, accounting for over 94 percent of total yam exports in West Africa, Nigeria which is by far the world’s largest producer of yams, accounting for over 70 to 76 percent of the world production, producing 35.017 million metric tonnes valued equivalent of $5.654 billion by the 2008 estimates should do better than Ghana in the export market

Ghana is the first country in West Africa to launch its national yam development strategy in 2013. The country aims at US$5billion dollars of exports by 2018. Nigeria, which produces seven times Ghana’s production volume, is beset with criticisms over attempts to bring it to the global yam markets. About 90 per cent of Ghana’s yams are exported to the US, Canada, UK and elsewhere in Europe. There are more Nigerians than Ghanaians in these countries, meaning more prospects for Nigerian exporters.

Mr Ogbeh has said that Nigeria, the largest producer of yam in the world, is not anywhere near the capacity to export and remains so much a nation of consumers.

He stressed that “Nigeria must export” as the “country’s economy is increasing, and in ten years’ time, oil and gas is going to drop. Then we may have nothing to earn foreign exchange except we begin to diversify our export base now.”

With all these prospects in view, the Minister expressed surprise at the negative news trailing his effort at putting Nigeria on the global yam export market, saying “we’re not going to stop because this is not enough to demoralise us. We have food to export. Never mind what so-called critics are doing.”

“In the ministry of agriculture,” he said, “we are not exporters. The ministry does not export. We’re going to talk to the port authority on cooling vans for vegetables and fresh produce so that exporters don’t lose money and we don’t lose face. We should begin to build cold trucks that are temperature-controlled to keep the yams till the time they have to go. We should invest in special containers for their storage.”

“If other countries are doing it, we too can do it. We’re trying to take over the market. We’ve come to nearly 70 per cent of raw output of yams. Why can’t Nigerians in Texas, Canada, London and Germany have access to the yams?”

The Minister vowed that “we will go ahead with our efforts to export yam. We will not let this opportunity slip any further. We are determined to position our people to capture the investment opportunities and benefits in the yam export to these countries. We will fix the yam export value chain. We have the volume and the market.”

“We will emphasise global best practices, engage with world class experts and international organisations as well as leverage the strength in indigenous knowledge. We will support investment in relevant infrastructure and facilities.

“We will revive the abandoned yam conditioning centres in Ekiti and Nassarawa states while we encourage the construction of new ones with appropriate equipment to boost storage and export prospects. We appeal to Nigerians, in the spirit of patriotism, to see the silver lining around the cloud of the week of misinformation about yam export.

“We have commenced engagement with the National Assembly for the repeal of the 1989 law that prohibits export of yams and other agro-commodities.

“Currently, the bill has passed the second reading at the National Assembly. The continued existence of this law is an obstruction against the economic diversification and export initiative of this administration. We plead with the National Assembly to fast-track the repeal of the law and help us further unlock our export potential,” he said.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Economy

Hyde Energy Advocates Ways to Reduce Cost of LPG

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Domestic LPG

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria’s leading energy trading company, Hyde Energy, has proffered strong recommendations for making Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) affordable and available in Nigeria.

This was discussed at the just-concluded 2nd West Africa LPG Expo & NLPGA Summit 2022 held in Lagos themed Energizing the Future: LPG as a Sustainable Fuel in African Economies as part of efforts to address the sector’s need for significant investments in infrastructure.

The conference, which has continued to gather momentum in Nigeria, is a platform for industry players to engage both indigenous and international stakeholders to attain insight into the LPG market and network with more than 3,000 delegates across the value chain.

The first day of the two-day conference featured a panel discussion where the Chief Executive of Hyde Energy, Mr Oladimeji Edwards, encouraged more collaboration amongst relevant stakeholders in the industry to develop necessary measures that can improve infrastructural development in the sector to reduce the cost of LPG and increase supply.

“To reduce the cost of LPG, it is very important to build infrastructure to a captive market, to take it from truck to skid, to dispensing unit, all the way down to the cylinders, and ultimately at some point, the next generation will reticulate as part of standard code for construction at which point in time, we would have had ample supply of LPG distribution across the country,” he said.

He further revealed that for infrastructural development to come into place, there is a need for all hands to be on deck and show the will to make it happen.

Mr Edwards stated that Nigeria has tremendous gas deposits but there is an inadequate infrastructure around gas resources.

“To reduce imports, adequate investment is required. Gas suppliers are importing LPG, paying in US Dollars, and due to inflation and devaluation this affects retail prices, but with good infrastructure, I assure you that we will have an enabling environment for investment to thrive and everyone will be happy,” he advocated.

Mr Edwards commended the effort of the NLPGA to bring together industry stakeholders to share ideas on contentious topics and share strategies to help Nigeria’s LPG market unlock its incredible potential saying, “this is a brilliant platform for relevant stakeholders in the industry. It is a great event which brings in international and indigenous experts to exchange ideas, opinions, trends and outlook for the future.”

Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing LPG markets in the world with more than 20 per cent average growth per annum for the past 10 years. In 2020, Nigeria recorded a national LPG consumption of 89.91 thousand MT (PPPRA, 2020), with a positive variance of 7.9 per cent above the targeted estimated figure.

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Economy

NASD OTC Securities Exchange Opens Week 0.81% Lower

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unlisted securities exchange

By Adedapo Adesanya

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange opened the week in the negative territory following a 0.81 per cent drop on Monday, June 27.

At the session, the bourse, which admits unlisted securities, recorded a poor outcome following losses reported by three companies — FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, and Food Concepts Plc.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc saw its equity drop N2.96 or 3.09 per cent to N98.76 per unit from N95.80 per unit, CSCS Plc lost 42 Kobo or 2.84 per cent to close the day at N14.38 per share as against N14.80 per share of the preceding session, while Food Concepts Plc went down by 5 Kobo or 5.00 per cent to 95 Kobo per unit from N1.00 per unit.

As a result, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) dropped 6.21 points to settle at 762.06 points versus last Friday’s 768.27 points as the market capitalisation went south by N8.18 billion to N1.003 trillion from N1.011 trillion.

At the market yesterday, there was a jump in the units of securities exchanged by investors to 647,785 units from 323,519 units, implying a 100.5 per cent increase.

The value of securities traded amounted to N5.6 million, 37.6 per cent lower than the N8.9 million achieved at the previous trading day, while the number of trades depreciated by 27.27 per cent to eight deals from 11 deals.

AG Mortgage Bank Plc finished the trading session as the busiest stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with the sale of 2.3 billion units worth N1.2 billion, CSCS Plc also retained the second spot with the sale of 674.3 million units valued at N14.1 billion, while Food Concepts Plc was in third place for trading 146.5 million units valued at N127.2 million.

When the coin is flipped to the other side, CSCS Plc maintained its position as the most active stock by value on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 674.3 million units valued at N14.1 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 10.9 million units worth N3.2 billion, while FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc retained the third place with the sale of 9.7 million units valued at N1.2 billion.

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Economy

Naira Now N617/$ at Peer-to-Peer, N605/$1 at Parallel Market

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Nigerian Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira appreciated by N1 or 0.16 per cent against the United States Dollar at the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) window of the foreign exchange (FX) market on Monday to close at N624/$1 compared with last Friday’s N618/$1.

At the parallel market, according to data harvested by Business Post from the various traders of forex on the streets of Lagos, the Nigerian currency was exchanged against its American counterpart at N605/$1.

At the interbank market, the local currency appreciated against the Pound Sterling by 20 kobo to trade at N509.82/£1 versus the preceding session’s N510.02/£1 but against the Euro, it lost N1.89 to sell for N439.49/€1 compared with last session’s value of N437.60/€1.

Also, at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment, which is the official market, the Naira recorded a 0.21 per cent or 88 kobo loss against the American Dollar as it was sold at N421/$1 in contrast to last Friday’s N420.12/$1.

The domestic currency was weakened despite a $10.02 million or 6.1 per cent slide in the turnover for the trading day as forex worth $152.96 million exchanged hands compared with the $162.98 million recorded in the preceding session.

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market saw the value of TerraClassicUSD (USTC) rising by 33.0 per cent yesterday to $0.0191 as other digital coins monitored by this newspaper struggled for life.

Dogecoin (DOGE) depreciated by 7.2 per cent to trade at $0.0695, Solana (SOL) recorded a 6.4 per cent slide to sell at $37.38, Ripple (XRP) went down by 6.0 per cent to trade at $0.3429, while Litecoin (LTC) followed with a 5.9 per cent depreciation to quote at $54.41.

Further, Cardano (ADA) slumped by 3.8 per cent to settle at $0.4798, Ethereum (ETH) suffered a 3.6 per cent loss to trade at $1,174.74, Bitcoin (BTC) recorded a 2.3 per cent retreat to sell at $20,642.92, Binance Coin (BNB) declined by 1.7 per cent to finish at $232.0, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) moderated by 0.05 per cent to sell for $0.999.

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