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FG Validates National Wheat Strategy Document To Rejig Policy

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FMARD Wheat
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar (middle) flanked by other stakeholders during the workshop in Abuja.

The Federal Government has resolved its commitment to validating the National Wheat Strategy policy to rejig production of the wheat value chain. 

The Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Mohammad Abubakar made this known at the stakeholder’s validation workshop of the National Wheat Strategy Document yesterday (August 30, 2022) in Abuja. 

He said that the draft National Wheat Strategy Document was developed as a policy framework to increase production, income earnings and competitiveness of local production for the smallholder farmers in the sub-sector. 

Abubakar stressed that the multiplier effects of COVID-19 and the current Russian/ Ukrainian war drastically affected the supply of wheat in the international market. 

He noted that with the growing population and consumption rate of Wheat and wheat products, Nigeria has no option but to boost its productivity and production to meet the national demand. 

The minister pointed out that the wheat industry has been of serious concern to the Federal Government because “the national requirement for wheat is 5.7 million metric tonnes annually, while our production is 420, 000 metric tonnes. 

“According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Statistical report 2020, Nigeria imports $6billion worth of wheat from 2016 to 2020,” adding that this is worrisome and unsustainable for a crop that could be produced locally. 

He revealed that the success story of the rice revolution through the National Rice Strategy Document had transformed the rice industry in Nigeria, adding that replication in the Wheat industry would change the narrative of the wheat value chain. 

Speaking further, he seized the opportunity to commend the ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Environment, FCT and the president, African Development Bank (AfDB) for offering support to cultivate 250,000 hectares of Wheat this year.

The minister, therefore, appealed to the Minister of Water Resources to partner with the ministry in the area of functional irrigation systems during the dry season to ensure that the dream of boosting wheat production is realised. 

In his welcome address, the Minister of State FMARD, represented by the director, Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA), Engr. Abubakar Abdullah said the ministry’s partnership with AFDB in wheat production was for self-reliance and the present administration’s agenda to create jobs which would invariably tackle food security. 

In his goodwill message, the director-general of Nigeria country department, African Development Bank, Mr. Lamin Barrow represented by the bank’s chief agro-industry officer, Engr. Tabi KariKari said that Nigeria would not only become self-sufficient in wheat production shortly but a key exporter of the commodity in the sub-region, taking advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area. 

He anticipated that in the upcoming dry season and with the support from the bank /other stakeholders for the provision of seed, inputs, mechanization and extension services using the innovation platforms, noting that, at least, 250, 000 hectares would be put under cultivation, in clusters of 100 to 200 hectares.  

Borrow, therefore, revealed that: “this was the game changer in Ethiopia and Sudan which we look forward to replicating in Nigeria”. 

A statement by the ministry’s director of information signed by Eremah Anthonia, the meeting was attended by the representatives of ministers, state commissioners of agriculture, chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Research Institute, Hon. Baba Munir Danagundi; chief executives of associations/ partners, commodity associations, River Basin Development Authority (RBDA), seed companies and the syndicate group members.

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