See how National roadmap cause transformation to Nigeria’s wheat industry
Despite faced with an acute FX shortage, Nigeria still spends millions of dollars yearly on the importation of wheat grain to bridge its huge demand-supply gap.
Wheat production in Africa’s most populous country has remained low and facing challenges, such as poor seedlings, prolonged droughts, pests, and diseases.
To curtail Nigeria’s heavy import reliance and reduce the deleterious effects of excessive wheat importation as well as facilitate conservations that ultimately proffer solutions aimed at bridging the supply gap, Olam – a leading player in the wheat value-chain, engaged key stakeholders, scientists, and relevant actors across the value chain for its inaugural Green Land webinar series.
The scientists and experts who spoke at the series say Nigeria can only transform its wheat industry when the country develops a national roadmap for the sector just as it did with rice.
Salim Mohammed, national president, Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria, in his opening address, said Nigeria is a potential bread-basket to feed Africa.
He noted that the domestic production of wheat has suffered from a lack of policy support and the perception that Nigeria cannot competitively produce wheat.
Mohammed further emphasised the need for synergy among the agricultural stakeholders in the country to develop a national roadmap for the subsector.
He said that there was a need to have a stakeholders engagement with the government, to achieve the much-needed synergy in terms of determining the challenges faced by them as well as mapping out strategies for improvement.
He called for more government intervention in the wheat value chain noting that wheat should be given the same focus as rice since the country also spends millions of naira yearly in importing the grain.
Themed ‘Deepening the Wheat Farming Development Programme in Nigeria Through Innovation, Increasing Investments and Collaborations’ the webinar succeeded at stimulating cogent wheat development discussions, articulating sectoral challenges, and deepening insights into the broader agricultural landscapes while providing a platform for proffering solutions to mitigating domestic wheat value-chain constraints.
In his welcome address, Ashish Pande, managing director, Crown Flour Mill Limited, an Olam subsidiary, said the objective of organising the event was to explore the key drivers of growth in the domestic wheat value chain and tackle the various hurdles to adequate wheat production in Nigeria.
“The theme for this series, Deepening the wheat farming development programme in Nigeria through innovation, increasing investments and collaborations, is instructive and was chosen because it speaks to two key queries, the What and the How that the wheat production value chain must address to experience the desired growth.”
Among the issues discussed at the webinar were the hurdles of national wheat production sufficiency, the insufficient provision of high-yielding wheat seed varieties, the dearth of latest wheat-cultivation knowledge among smallholder farmers, poor financing for seed trial, and research, and poor pricing of locally produced wheat.
Filippo Bassi, scientist, and senior durum wheat breeder, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARD), in his keynote address, described the atmospheric and soil conditions in certain parts of Nigeria as indicatively fair for the cultivation of wheat.