Nigeria’s wheat import bill soars

19.03.2018

Despite efforts by the Federal Government to promote agriculture, Nigeria spends over N635 billion yearly on wheat import.

The Executive Director, Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), Maiduguri, Mr. Oluwasina Olabanji, told The Nation that the country consumes about 4.7 million metric tons of wheat, while the production stands less.

“To bridge the gap between what we consume and what we produce, we need to expand our scope to the Southwest, the Southeast and the Southsouth.

“Although wheat is mostly grown in the north, research has shown that it can also do well in the Southsouth, it is a crop that can adapt to new environment.

“We need to sensitise farmers in the zones and continue to prepare their minds towards engaging in wheat production,” he said.

Olabanji said plans were underway to reduce wheat importation by 60 per cent in 2025, adding that Nigeria has the potentials to be self sufficient in wheat production.

He said Nigeria had 650,000 hectares of land for wheat production in the North and about 80,000 hectares for wheat production during rainy season in Cross River, Jos and Taraba.

Olabanji said the Federal Government was committed to the diversification of the economy through agriculture.

Also, Wheat Coordinator, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Naplitali Telta said the government was determined to conserve the nation’s foreign exchange by increasing local production of wheat.

The National Financial Secretary, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Tunde Arosanyin said the solution to eradicating wheat importation and ensuring local production was commitment and sincerity from importers and government to ensuring local production.

He blamed merchants for being impediments to the local production of wheat owing to their call for the import.


The Nation
 

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