Stakeholders in the agricultural sector in Nigeria have unanimously tasked the Federal Government to increase its intervention programmes in the wheat value chain.
They also called for more collaboration amongst key players to boost wheat production in the country.
These were part of the resolutions made at a recent webinar organised by Olam Nigeria themed: “Deepening The Wheat Farming Development Programme In Nigeria Through Innovation, Increasing Investment And Collaboration.”
Managing Director, Crown Flour Mill, Mr Ashish Pande , noted that Nigeria can only improve her wheat production capacity through an improved wheat value chain.
Pande pointed out that Crown Flour Mill was determined to boost wheat development in the country through its involvement in qualitative research on seed varieties to enhance better yields of wheat in Nigeria.
He explained that Crown Flour Mill ambition was to do research on seed varieties so that all can have better seed in the future and with that, the firm could have a bountiful harvest.
According to him, the webinar was organised to create a synergy amongst stakeholders in the wheat value chain to harness strategic ideas on how to improve on the wheat production capacity in the country.
A Keynote address by, Dr Filippo Maria Bassi, Senior Scientist, Durum Wheat Breeder, ICARDA, Morocco, emphasized that various countries produce different varieties of wheat for the production of staple foods.
Dr Bassi noted that a lot of opportunities exist within the wheat value chain starting from the varieties of seeds to the actual production of wheat and staple foods.
He further encouraged the Federal Government to increase its intervention programmes in the area of improving seed varieties as that is one of the sure ways of boosting Nigeria’s wheat production capacity.
According to him, different varieties of wheat like Bread Wheat, or Durum wheat can have greater yields depending on the farming techniques and soil texture, stressing that each country should test its seed in different regions.
Corroborating him, Alhaji Salim Saleh Muhammad, National President, Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria, called for a critical stakeholder meeting involving the Federal Government, the private and public sector to address the challenges faced by wheat farmers in the country.
Alhaji Muhammad stressed that there is a need for synergy between the government and the wheat farmers, noting that the government can help farmers through the implementation of favourable policies and subsidizing farm inputs that would boost wheat production in the country.
According to him, there is a need for more funds to be injected into the agricultural sector especially in the wheat value chain to make Nigeria competitive in wheat production.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sambo Nanono reiterated the Federal Government commitment to collaborate with stakeholders in the wheat value chain to reduce wheat importation into the country by 50 per cent.
Nanono who was represented by Alhaji Zubairu Abdul, Director of Planning, Federal Ministry of Agriculture declared that the government has an open policy and is willing to engage with stakeholders in improving the wheat value chain.