The Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export Programme says it is targeting to export about 480 tonnes of yams per month in 2018.
Chairman of the committee, Simon Irtwange, said the United States has requested for the supply of five containers monthly, which amounts to 120 tonnes of yams monthly, while there are demands from other countries as well.
Speaking in Abuja on Monday, Irtwange said the target would be achieved if all the challenges, which yam exporters experienced in 2017, were surmounted.
According to him, “If everything works out well, the US authorities say they will need about five containers every month and one container contains 24 tonnes of yams.
“We are trying to aggregate the demand from other countries; so by the time we put everything together, we should be thinking of exporting about 20 containers of yams on a monthly basis.
“When you multiply 20 by 24, the total is 480 tonnes of yams.
“We have a work plan and we have a lot of activities that we have already pencilled down. We are working with relevant government agencies to provide the necessary support for the.”
Irtwange said the Nigerian Ports Authority has made available the Ikorodu lighter terminal to facilitate the packaging and movement of yams meant for export.
He said the committee was also working with the NPA to get people who would invest in constructing yam pack houses at the terminal.
On the challenges which yam exporters encountered in 2017, Irtwange said the committee had forwarded a report to the federal government on possible ways of tackling the perceptible hitches.
He added: “On the issue of transportation, we need cold trucks; we also need yam conditioning centres.
“Presently, there is only one conditioning centre owned by the Nigeria Export Promotion Council in Zaki-Ibiam, Benue state, but that is not enough, we need more.
“On the issues of packaging and production of cartons for the yams, we are also hoping to have local investors.
“Right now, there are only two companies that can do this for us — an Indian company in Ibadan and a Chinese company in Lagos — and the problem is that in most cases, they don’t take orders for little quantities of cartons for production.”