NIGERIA – AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX), a leading private commodities exchange company in Nigeria, has declared its commitment to support the government-directed effort in boosting sustainable production, processing, supply and marketing of wheat produced in the country.
Formalizing its involvement in the initiative, AFEX inked an MoU with the Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN) and joined the movement to increase wheat production in Nigeria.
The MoU was signed at the unveiling event of the Brown Revolution Initiative, which is a programme to enable Nigerian farmers to plant wheat during the dry season by utilizing irrigation.
It is aimed to further the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrower Program objective on wheat production.
“One of the legacies this administration desires to achieve before leaving office is zero importation of wheat,” President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, said.
“To this effect, we will work with all stakeholders to ensure this objective is achieved in more impactful ways for the Nigerian economy,” he added.
Under the partnership, AFEX Suppliers would be responsible for the proper cleaning and grading of the commodity, while it will be aggregated and collected at designated collecting locations for FMAN members to off-take.
“Our partnership with FMAN is to provide assurance to wheat farmers about the marketability of their products and help in the implementation of Government policy regarding import substitution, job creation and economic empowerment of wheat farmers,” said Ayodeji Balogun, CEO, AFEX, while signing the MoU.
“As a commodities exchange and capital market player, we are able to deploy a top-notch service for the proper cleaning and grading of the commodity that will drive production and reduce the country’s wheat imports drastically,” he said.
Balogun added that AFEX’s overall aim is to commercially structure the agricultural food system in the country in a way that benefits all value chain players, reports ThisDay.
The CBN will fund and oversee the Brown Revolution Initiative to address critical value chain issues and ensure the continued availability of high yield seed varieties in the country to increase overall productivity.
To boost production, the apex bank indicated it would require high yield varieties of wheat seeds from Mexico, with the short-term benefit to be addition of about 2,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) of the high yield seed variety to the national wheat seed stock.
The efforts also have the potential to add about 750,000MT of wheat annually through during the dry season cultivation.
Success of the programme would be critical in reducing the country’s wheat imports by 60% over the following two years.
Global food and agri-business firm, Olam in partnership with its Nigerian subsidiary, Crown Flour Mill Limited recently launched a N300 million (US$750,000) investment, channelled towards setting a community seed enterprise aimed to increase wheat production in the country.
The 10-year project, set to be undertaken in northern Nigeria’s wheat farming belt, underlines Olam’s commitment to supporting the country’s goal of achieving self-sufficiency in food production.