NIGERIA – Nigeria’s wheat value chain players and the government are rallying up support to boost the sector’s performance.
According to reports by Nigeria News Agency, the Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN) has provided support to 800 farmers in Kano, Kebbi and Jigawa States to accelerate wheat cultivation.
The farmers were provided with improved seeds variety, fertilisers, chemicals and 50 threshers under a soft loan scheme designed to enhance farmer access to inputs and extension services.
Further to that, FMAN, in collaboration with Oxfam and agricultural research institutes, have established wheat farming service centres in 15 local government areas, while plans are underway to expand the scope of the programme to mobilise additional participation.
Crown Flour Mills, a member of FMAN has been at the front-line championing growth of the industry by being committed towards improving wheat production, through adequate financing and research in the country.
“We look forward to partnering with organisations across the wheat value chain, to improve farmers’ yields through high quality seeds, expanded extension services and improved access to irrigation.”Crown Flour Mills Project Manager – Danjuma
According to the company’s Project Manager, the subsidiary of Olam Nigeria has introduced Durum wheat variety and engaged the services of a well-known seed scientists, Dr Bassi, to accelerate wheat production in the country.
“We wish to get new technologies in Nigeria to further build on the wheat initiative. We look forward to partnering with organisations across the wheat value chain, to improve farmers’ yields through high quality seeds, expanded extension services and improved access to irrigation,” Danjuma said.
Also showing their support to the sector was Kano State government highlighting that they have concluded plans to establish additional water bodies and upgrade existing dams to encourage wheat cultivation and other irrigation activities.
Kano Deputy Governor, Nasiru Gawuna, said the government had embarked on the rehabilitation and desilting of Watari dam and upgrade of irrigation schemes in Bagwai LGA.
While reiterating the government’s commitment to support farmers, Gawuna urged the farmers to utilise the inputs to improve their productivity.
The Federal Government has further trained over 30,000 workers as part of efforts to reinvigorate extension services and encourage agricultural productivity.
Alhaji Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said the measure was imperative towards equipping farmers with modern farming techniques, crop processing and entrepreneurial skills, to add value to agricultural produce.
This will in turn transform the agriculture industry and achieve food security.
The support by the industry players is highly needed as according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Nigeria will continue to rely on grain imports for food security as the country is challenged with coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, currency devaluation and climate change.
Domestic wheat production is forecast to fall 8% to 55,000 tonnes in the 2020-21 marketing year.
Wheat imports are expected to total 4.9 million tonnes in the 2020-21 marketing year.
The Nigerian government’s restrictions on wheat continues to add increasing cost of flour, rising food prices and reduce consumption of bread and wheat flour-based products, the USDA noted.
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