Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has commissioned a yam storage facility with the capacity to store 200,000 tubers of yam in Zaki -Biam, Benue State.
While commissioning the storage facility from Abuja via a virtual messaging platform, Vice President Osinbajo noted that the federal government decided to build the facility in Benue State because it State accounted for over 70 per cent of the yams cultivated in Nigeria, yet lacked adequate storage facilities.
“Besides, post-harvest losses have been the bane of agricultural production in Nigeria; Nigeria produces 17 million tons of yam annually but loses up to 40 per cent on account of inadequate storage and processing facilities,” the vice president said.
“Following discussions between the federal government’s MSME clinics project, the Benue State government and market stakeholders, it was unanimously agreed that this 200,000 capacity yam storage facility should be located right here in Zaki Biam, Benue State,” Osinbajo added.
Yams are in a class of roots and tubers that make up an important part of the Nigerian and West African diet. The staple is a major source of income throughout the region, and also has a high cultural value to its people.
The Zaki Biam International Yam Market convenes every day except Sundays, with Tuesdays and Wednesdays being the busiest. It has 660 stalls and is reputed to be the largest yam market in Nigeria, and perhaps Africa, as buyers from other African countries patronize the market.
Benue State Gov., Samuel Ortom appreciated the intervention of the federal government, remarking that the facility would improve the livelihoods of millions of poor households and go a long way in preventing post-harvest losses and ensuring food security in Benue and beyond.
“The location of the project in Zaki -Biam (the traditional yam-producing area of Benue) is therefore strategic, as the facility will serve as hub for Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states,” Ortom governor noted.