The debut of Nigerian pepa-yam in UK
The government of Nassarawa state has done a good job by launching in UK, the marketing of pepa-yam. This is a very welcome development for us in the agric community. I do not know at what level the government came in or at what level it plans to exit.
But I know one thing for sure, government is not good with business. Once the initiative is not profitable, it is not going to be sustainable and as usual with other laudable initiatives, it becomes comatose.
Let Nassarawa state government concentrate on providing the enabling environment for private sector- agro-allied businesses to thrive. Marketing the product abroad, is going the extra mile. Please do not go further than this. Therefore, establishing a produce development and marketing company is not necessary.
Look around you and see much older neighbouring states' similar companies. The story is the same-it is either a conduit pipe for siphoning government meagre resources, or a dead end for any profitable business initiative.
Instead of handing over to a civil servant, the fate of ordinary Nassarawa yam farmer, I am of the opinion that the yam farmers be organised into cooperatives.
Then invite a bank to deal with the cooperatives directly. It is this bank, that need all the support the government feels it wants to avail yam development and marketing.
Just last week, I saw a documentary on a young Nigerian who is based in Germany. This young gentle man is engaged in the processing of yam into powder, right there in Germany.
Here is my unsolicited advice to Nassarawa state government. Initiate a contact with this chap on the possibility of him anchoring the European end of your campaign. This is without prejudice to an agreement you have already entered with the UK based, Best Produce International (UK) Ltd.
No cheap political point will be scored in the above arrangement, hence it is not expected to be attractive. But its workability will count as one of the enduring legacy that posterity might use in assessing the current government of Nassarawa state.