Nigeria spends $4.2b on wheat importation annually


Nigeria spends USD4.2 billion annually to import wheat from the United States of America, former Executive Director of Lake Chad Research Institute, Maiduguri, Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji has said.

Speaking in Sokoto, Olabanji noted that Nigeria produces  625,000 metric tons of wheat as against its annual requirement of 4.7 million metric tons.

He wondered why such huge amount was being spent on importation of such commodity despite the  arable land suitable for production of varieties of wheat, including barley which was  known as golden wheat.

He said as part of efforts to close the production gab, the Lake Chad Institute in Maiduguri, have developed improved varieties that could yield between five to six tonnes per hectare.

"We are also expanding the wheat production to non-traditional areas such as Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa and Kwara states through Lake Chad

Institute and a project called Technology for Africa Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) funded by Africa Development Bank (ADB)." He explained.

Olabanji was speaking during a farm work on 30,000 hectares wheat and Barley cultivation field situated at Taloka village in Goronyo Local government area of Sokoto State.

The large-scale wheat farm which debuted as a pilot project in the state, was initiated by a private agro-firm, Foladapo Global Enterprise and Heritage bank.

He noted that the pilot project  was done to demonstrate quality seeds of both wheat and barley that can be grown in the state.

He urged governments at all levels to create enabling environment and assist farmers across the country to enable them embrace wheat farming.

While allaying the fears of farmers, especially in the northwest, he said that barley wheat was not used for the production of  food items that are permitted by Islam but not for alcohol.

Also speaking, the Group Head, Agric Finance, Export  & FMCG, Heritage Bank Plc, Mr. Olugbenga Awe, noted  the Wheat and Barley farm project as  the first of its kind in Sokoto, and in the whole northwest states.

Awe who also represented Foladapo Global Enterprises commended the community for their harmonious working relationship and the cooperation of the State Government in ensuring the success of the pilot project.

He described barley as a multipurpose commodity with comparative advantage in making malt, syrup and bread apart from its traditional uses.

In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Umar Nagwari Tambuwal who was represented by the  Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Sani Garba Shunni expressed  the state government ‘s willing

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