Ogbeh made this disclosure on Thursday, February 23, in Abuja as technical working committee was inaugurated to fast track the exportation of yam.
According to the minister, the Chinese government has demanded dry yam from Nigeria to meet industrial and domestic needs.
Ogbeh said Nigeria has remained one of the world’s largest producers of yam, which accounts for 61.7 per cent of the global production of the rot crop, while there are over 60 varieties of yam, but sadly, Nigeria not among yam exporting countries.
He assured that local production and consumption of the commodity would not be affected by the move to export yam soon, rather government would scale up intervention in yam production, as farmers in the country have indicated willingness to increase production to meet both local and international demands.
Ogbeh noted that high level of yam production was going on in Zakibiam in Benue state, as government has moved to leverage on it, and also spread production across the entire country.
However, he lamented Ghana, which produces far less than any yam producing state in Nigeria, has taken over the European market.
According to him yam consumed in the United States were imported from Ghana and a tuber of yam cost as high as $15.
But according to the minister, the Nigerian yam export promotion programme was aimed at taking Nigerian yam production, processing and marketing to next level in line with what is done in other country.
Meanwhile, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said that the federal government is targeting the production of seven million tonnes of rice in 2018.