Kano, Kebbi take lead in wheat production efforts
As LCRI Revives Fresh Drive At Self-Sufficiency
Barring any hitches in negotiations, the wheat farmers and up-takers of the commodity (Millers Association) would have arrived at the price at which the commodity goes to the buyers.
This marks a new beginning for wheat business in Nigeria as farmers look forward to having all quantity taken up by millers commencing from the harvest field of Alkamawa in Wudil Local Government Area of Kano State.
Effectively, the Lake Chad Research Institute led by its Executive Director, Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji, whose institute’s mandate is wheat research and production has successfully mid-wifed the return of the country to commercial wheat production.
The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe commended the Kano and Kebbi State governments for promoting the cultivation of the leading grains of wheat and rice in the country at the 2016 National Wheat Farmers Field Day organised by the Institute and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Area (ICARDA).
Ogbe lauded the state governors, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Danguje and Abubakar Bagudu of Kano and Kebbi States respectively, who were present at the event.
The Minister expressed happiness about what he witnessed in both states and pledged to support the Institute in promoting research on improved seeds and mechanised farming to enhance yield per hectare in order to make the nation sufficient in cash crop production.
Riding on the back of the high performing Atilla Gan Atilla wheat seed variety, the projection, according to Ogbe is that about 350,000MT of wheat is expected during this harvest season from an area of 100,000 hectares cultivated in the northern states.
Incidentally, the reality on ground from the field day reports at Alkamawa does not support the attainment of the target, as a much lower harvest will reach the millers this season.
“The importance of this National wheat field day should not be underestimated. It will help us assess our successes so far towards achieving our professed desire for self-sufficiency in wheat production. It will also bring to light our achievements in the processing and utilisation of Nigerian wheat and help us identify areas for further research,” Ogbe said.
He assured the farmers of Federal Government’s commitment to attaining food security and saving enormous resources expended on food importation.
John Coumantaros, Chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc and member of the millers’ association promised the farmers that the millers would purchase all wheat produced in the country, considering its importance in the production of some staple foods.
The Minister stressed that government would go ahead with the massive planting of special grasses to provide Fulani herdsmen with fodder to feed their animals. This would enable them produce maximum milk and beef as well as minimise encroachment into farmlands.
Kano State Governor, Dr. Ganduje told the Minister that farmers in Kano State could provide the nation with required wheat to millers and production companies, adding that his administration, through a programme ‘Kauda Rant’ tube-wells, water pumping machines, seeds, fertilizer and other incentives were distributed to farmers.