NIGERIA—Crown Flour Mill (CFM) Limited, the wheat milling subsidiary of Olam Agri, has announced that its N300 million (US$ 700 thousand)wheat value chain development project, “Seed for the Future” has achieved its target of producing 10 kilogram of pre-multiplication early maturing wheat seed varieties that are suitable for Nigeria’s unique local topography and climate.

On the project’s report, Ashish Pande, the Country Head for Olam Agri Nigeria, said that to begin to tackle the current challenges in the global food value chain, it is imperative to channel investment into agriculture to ensure a consistent supply of food to feed our population.

“At CFM and Olam Agri, we are committed to investing at the production level of the wheat value chain, in line with the federal government’s food security and agriculture development agenda,” he added.

Unveiling the project report, Filippo Bassi, a professional seed breeder from the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and consultant on the project, revealed, that the 10-kilogram pre-multiplication wheat seed varieties would be planted next season in a 1,000 million squared plots at the Azumbu Farm Research Station in Jigawa State.

At CFM and Olam Agri, we are committed to investing at the production level of the wheat value chain, in line with the federal government’s food security and agriculture development agenda

Ashish Pande, the Country Head for Olam Agri Nigeria

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He added that to ensure larger quantities of seeds as backup, a subset will be planted also during the rainy season in August 2023.

Dr. Kachalla Kyari Mala, the Principal Research Officer at the Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), said that his team conducted a detailed survey into the agronomic practices of local smallholder farmers at the commencement of the project to understand the realities in the Nigerian wheat value chain.

“The outcome of the first-year trial and testing of the seed varieties gives some assurance that the investment of Olam Agri will accelerate seed production while pre-release yields actual improvement in productivity in the country’s wheat farming belt,” Mala said.

To raise the current level of the local wheat harvest in Nigeria, the Director of Agricultural Research at LCRI, Dr. Zakari Turaki, stated that strong partnerships and collaborative efforts between public institutions and private firms are essential.

However, the Chairman of the Agricultural Colleges and Institutions Committee of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Munir Babba Dan Agundi, called for policy consistency in the industry as well as synergy among critical stakeholders.

He said focused legislation to back value chain development policies would ensure changes in government would not affect policies.

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