Nigeria to save N431b from wheat imports | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigeria to save N431b from wheat imports

Posted: Apr 24, 2015 at 12:51 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Executive Director, Lake Chad Research Institute, Dr. Gbenga Olabanji, has said that Nigeria will achieve the 68 per cent local wheat production target by the end of the year as local wheat production is rising in the country.

Olabanji said wheat production in the northern part of the country would have increased the current output from 45 to 60 per cent, adding that the 68 per cent output target set by the Federal Government would be achieved by the end of 2015.

This, he said, will help the country to save N431b from its wheat import bill.

“Farmers have adopted the improved variety and we have released two new varieties in December, Reyna 28 and Norma Boulaug with average yield of 5.5 to 6.0 tonnes per hectare.

“Presently, we can say we have attained about 45 per cent. But if we are to add all the products in all the Northern producing states, we will have close to 60 per cent, so the 68 per cent is still very much achievable,” the LCRI boss said.

Olabanji added that Lake Chad had released an improved variety of seeds that could produce up to five or six tonnes per hectare of wheat while the area of production had also been increased to about 150, 000 hectare.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, had in 2013 said Nigeria would meet 68 per cent wheat needs by 2015.

“In two years, if we accelerate investment, we should be able to produce 2.2 million metric tonnes of wheat. This would meet 68 per cent of our domestic wheat requirements and save Nigeria N431b in wheat imports annually,” the minister had said.

The Assistant to the Minister on Media and Strategy, Dr. Olukayode Oyeleye, said Nigeria had over the years witnessed some setbacks in local production of the commodity due to lack of planting materials, government policy changes and lack of incentives to stakeholders.

“The huge increase in consumption coupled with low productivity resulted in importation to fill the gap between demand and supply.

“Local consumption in the country has reached 4.0 million tonnes while production stood at 100,000 tons in 2012. To reverse this trend where more than N600n in foreign exchange is spent on wheat importation, the Wheat Value Chain was put in place,” Oyeleye said.

He added that the mandate of the value chain was to increase productivity of wheat from 2.0 tonnes per hectare in 2013 to between 5.5 and 6.0 tonnes by 2017, and the national production from the current 100,000 tonnes to 1.5 million tonnes by 2017, thereby reducing wheat importation by about 50 per cent.

He noted that this is expected to be achieved through fast and effective distribution of improved wheat varieties like Atila gan Atila which has an average yield of 4.0 tonnes per hectare and the newly released varieties; Reyna 28 and Norma Boulaug with average yield of 5.5 to 6.0 toones per hectare.