A Geneticist at the University of Ibadan, Dr. Morufat Balogun, on Sunday said Nigeria produced 70 per cent of the yam grown annually and globally.

Balogun, who is also a researcher at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan.

She said while Nigeria grew 70 per cent of yam annually, the remaining 30 per cent is shared among Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin Republic.

She said that between 37 and 40 million of metric tons of yam were produced in the world annually.

“Nigeria alone produces 70 per cent of yam every year all over the world, the remaining 30 per cent, is shared among other countries.”

She said in some areas in Southern America, some varieties of the commodity were also produced adding that the production of yam both for import and export largely depended on Nigeria.

“If Nigeria stops to produce yam today, the global production of yam will reduce by 70 per cent and it will affect exportation,” she said.

The expert said that production of yam if properly harnessed, could turn around the standard of living of millions of farmers and other investors interested in the business.

She advised farmers to plant more yams so as to improve the economy, saying that the crop could liberate Africa from excessive rice consumption.

Also, an international relations expert, Professor Solomon Akinboye, has said that Nigeria’s domestic economy needed to experience a major boost for more improvements in her international rating in 2015 and beyond.

“We cannot raise international respect for this country unless there is an astronomical boost in our domestic economy and internal social and political affairs.

“It is only when we are beautiful at home that we can enjoy the respect we deserve abroad,” he told NAN in Lagos.

He saidNigeria needed also to deepen her democratisation to be able to influence world affairs.

He added that the coming 2015 elections were like “litmus test” for advancements in the nation’s power to dominate foreign policies especially of other African nations.

“Almost every country is experiencing one form of internal strife or political disturbance it needs to address first to entertain accolades from sister countries.

“The era of doing so much abroad while fire burns in one’s compound has come and gone.

“The world will not have any reservation to place us first amongst equals when democracy, rule of law and constitutionalism reigns in our land,” he said.

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