Nigeria cuts $4.7b annual wheat bill by 30%, as Kaduna joins move to boost production


The Federal Ministry of Agriculture has reduced Nigeria’s $4.7 billion annual cost of importing wheat by about 20-30% with the establishment of the wheat value chain, according to the Executive Director Lake Chad Research Institute, Dr. Oluwasina Gbenga Olabanji.

Speaking on Wednesday during the flag off of a 3-day Training Workshop for 6,000 youths on wheat production in Kaduna, Olabanji said, "Nigeria is the least African country in wheat sufficiency, producing only 2.2% of national demand which stands at 4 million metric tonnes per annum.”

He said the most critical challenge for Nigeria today was how to encourage domestic production.

He said: “It is known, wheat is a temperate crop but the fallacy which held that wheat cannot be farmed in Nigeria has been debunked. After thorough research, dry season experiments for wheat farming yielded 100% success rate while raining season experiment yielded only 25% success rate.”

Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai who spoke at the event organized by Lake Chad Research Institute in collaboration with Kaduna State government, gave a similar figure that the country spent $10million daily on wheat, while 90 per cent of wheat consumed in Nigeria was imported.

He called on the youths to embrace agriculture, saying his administration will provide the trainees seedlings, pesticides, fertilizers and land adding that the state has the capacity to excel in agriculture.

The governor noted that Kaduna had engaged 25,000 unemployed on tree planting as well as thousands were also engaged in the state free feeding programme as one of the steps to reduce unemployment which he described as dehumanizing.

 “We must go back to agriculture for us to feed ourselves and also feed the nation. Our youths  must embrace agriculture. Any obstacles they will face we will remove it for you to achieve greatness in agriculture,” he said.

“We have the capacity to feed the nation. We have the land and capacity to excel in agriculture. We will provide you with land. We want more women into this agriculture training on wheat farming and production. If you excel others will join you. We asked for the Lake Chad Institute Executive’s commitment to enabling Kaduna State to get seeds for 50,000 hectres in 2017.

"That is why we launched this programme to get our youths, attracted to Agriculture. Our efforts are to ensure youth employment."


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