Yams at the Kokomba market
Large quantities of yam exported to the US from Ghana have been rejected, as most were found to be unwholesome upon arrival in that country.
Robert Baffuor Tandor of the Ministry of Trade & Industry? Standards Directorate, who confirmed this to BUSINESS GUIDE in an interview, said the Ministry was putting necessary measures in place to address the problem.
?We received complaints in February, this year from a Ghanaian company in the US that buys yams from Ghanaian exporters that the commodity gets rotten within some few days after it arrives. Therefore, the company has rejected the yams,? he said.
Mr. Tandor said the Ministry would tackle the problem immediately, stating that ?we wish yam exporters will know the farms where they buy the products. We want to know whether it?s from the change of weather in the US or that farmers are not exporting the right type of yam.?
He said plans were far advanced to train some selected farmers to cultivate the right type of yam for export.
Ghana is the third largest yam producer in West Africa after Nigeria and Cote d?Ivoire, but it is the leading exporter of yam accounting for over 94 percent of total yam exports in West Africa.
About 90 percent of Ghana?s yams are exported to the US, UK and the Netherlands.
According to a research conducted by Monitoring African Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) between 2005 and 2010, yam production in Ghana contributed about 16 percent to the country?s agricultural gross domestic product (GDP), accounting for 11 percent of total consumption in 2007.
From 2005 to 2010, yam production accounted for about 24 percent of total roots and tubers production in the country (MoFA 2010).
By Cephas Larbi