The Nigerian Federal Government on Tuesday resolved its commitment to validate the National Wheat Strategy policy towards rejigging the production of the wheat value chain.
Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, told stakeholders at the validation workshop of the National Wheat Strategy Document in Abuja that the draft Document was developed as a policy framework to increase production, income earnings and competitiveness of local production for the smallholder farmers in the Wheat sub sector.
Dr. Abubakar stressed that the multiplier effects of COVID-19 and the current Russian/ Ukrainian war, drastically affected the supply of Wheat in the International Market.
He noted that with the growing population and consumption rate of Wheat and Wheat products, Nigeria has no option than to boost its productivity and production to meet the national demand.
The Minister pointed out that “the Wheat industry has been of serious concern to the Federal Government because of the national requirement for Wheat is 5.7 million metric tons annually, while our production is 420, 000 metric tons”.
“According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Statistical report 2020, shows that Nigeria imports Six Billion Dollars ($6billion) worth of Wheat from 2016 to 2020” adding that this is worrisome and unsustainable for a crop that could be produced locally.
He revealed that the success story of Rice revolution through the National Rice Strategy Document had transformed the Rice industry in Nigeria, adding that replication in the Wheat industry would change the narrative of the Wheat Value Chain.
Speaking Further, he seized the opportunity to commend the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Environment, FCT and President, African Development Bank for offering support to cultivate 250,000 hectares of Wheat this year.
The Minister therefore appealed to the Honourable Minister of Water Resources to partner with the Ministry in the area of functional Irrigation system during the dry season to ensure that the dream of boosting Wheat production becomes a reality.
In his welcome address, the Honourable Minister of State, (FMARD) represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) Engr. Abubakar Abdullah said the Ministry’s partnership with AFDB in Wheat production was for self-reliance and the present administration’s agenda to create jobs which would invariably tackle food security.
In his goodwill message, The Director General of Nigeria Country Department, African Development Bank Mr. Lamin Barrow, represented by the Chief Agro-Industry Officer, Engr. Tabi KariKari said that Nigeria would not only become self-sufficient in Wheat production in the near future but would become a key exporter of the commodity in the sub-region taking advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
He anticipated that in the upcoming dry season and with the support from the bank /other stakeholders for provision of seed, inputs, mechanization and extension services using the innovation platforms, noting that at least 250, 000 hectares would be put under cultivation, in clusters of 100 to 200 Hectares.
Mr. Borrow, therefore revealed that, “this was the game changer in Ethiopia and Sudan which we look forward to replicate in Nigeria”.
In attendance were the representatives of Hon. Ministers, State Commissioners of Agriculture, Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture Colleges & Research Institute, Hon. Baba Munir Danagundi, Chief Executives of Associations/ Partners, Commodity Associations, River Basin Development Authority, Seed Companies and the syndicate group members.