Nigeria may lose N214bn of wheat production in 2018


There are indications that Nigeria is on the verge of losing about N213.7 billion ($593.6 million) of her wheat production to post-harvest losses, lack of quality seeds and other inputs, as well as non-availability of farming implements. Particularly, it has emerged from the Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) that these factors are hindering Nigeria’s quest to achieve the set target of 1.5 million tons wheat production earmarked for 2018 as many of its members are now being forced to abandon their farms.

Speaking on the issues in a chat  with New Telegraph, a member of WFAN said lack of improved seeds has forced farmers in Gombe State to abandon their initial plans of cultivating 10,000 hectares of wheat farms.

“Our cultivation is limited by lack of quality seeds and farming implements. Most of our farmers complained that the available seeds have been planted and replanted for over five years. This has resulted in deterioration in terms of crop quality, as the crop yield will not be good,” he said.

The source lamented that good quality seeds,when available,were not enough for distribution to farmers. “Initially, Lake Chad Research Institute brought us foundation seeds, but the problem we had then was that the seeds, which were of good quality, were not sufficient.

Those farmers who were able to plant the crop early enough harvested three to four tons on each hectare of farmland, while those that planted late realised between one and two tons per hectare,” the source said.

Statistics show that the total amount of wheat consumed in Nigeria is put around 4.5 million tons per annum and the local production is only about 120,000 tons per annum, leaving a huge gap to be covered by importation.

This implies that with 1.5 million tons of wheat targets for 2018 and the current local production of 120,000 tons per annum, Nigeria has a shortfall of 1.380 million tons to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production.

At the international market, wheat is been sold at $430.2 per ton multiply with by (1.380 million tons), so Nigeria is set to lose about $593.6 million or N213.7 billion of wheat production this year.

However, having realised that wheat is the most imported food item into Nigeria, the Federal Government had intensified efforts to attain self-sufficiency in agriculture with the aim of increasing wheat production for local markets and consumption in order to discourage importation of the commodity.

In addition, the country’s consumption for wheat remains high with demand expected to surpass 4.6 million tons next year as consumers’ demand for wheat-based foods continue to climb in response to changing tastes as in domestic supplies of other substitute staple products within Nigeria and neighboring countries is not increasing to match population growth.

Currently, Nigeria produces about 120,000 tons and thus depends on import to meet the huge deficit. Wheat importation gulps the country’s hard earned foreign exchange to the tune of $4 billion annually. Nigeria is one of the biggest importers of United States wheat and the market continues to grow in an unprecedented rate.


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