The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says it has expanded about N42 billion to accelerate wheat cultivation in 132,799 hectares across 15 states in the country.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said this at the inauguration of the 2021/2022 Brown Revolution Field Day/Harvest in Gabarin village, Ringim Local Government Area of Jigawa.
Emefiele, represented by the CBN Controller, Dutse Branch, Hajiya Sa’adatu Ibrahim, said the facility was provided during the 2021/2022 dry season activities, to address the challenges in the wheat value chain.
He said the strategy was anchored towards making high yield seed varieties available through implementation of a local seed multiplication programme, and expanding land for wheat cultivation through collaboration with state and federal agencies.
According to him, the apex bank through international collaboration seeks to increase the annual cycle for wheat cultivation during wet season activities and promote Good Agronomic Practices (GAP).
“In Nigeria; wheat remains one of the commodities with the highest demand and despite its high demand, Nigeria produces less than two per cent of its annual wheat consumption needs.
“In the light of the circumstances faced in wheat cultivation in Nigeria, the bank through its flagship Anchor Borrower Programme, in 2020, commenced a strategic approach targeted at facilitating import substitution by promoting self-sufficiency in the wheat value chain,” he said.
This, he said, encouraged improvement in the income of wheat farmers, enabling greater job creation and providing a ready off take for the millers.
He said the bank also trained over 250 extension workers with a reach of over 120,000 farmers, in a bid to cascade learning to the farmers in their respective locations through the GAP.
According to him, CBN in collaboration with Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN), identified, validated and cultivated demonstration farms to holistically showcase the improved protocol for wheat farming in the country and the impact of GAP on high yields to farmers.
“Four seed companies have been commissioned to process 25,000 metric tonnes for the next planting season.
“This strategy seeks to reduce wheat importation by 60 per cent in two years and eliminate wheat importation over the long term,” he added.
According to him, the aim is to reduce the gap by at least 15” per cent during the 2021/2022 planting season.
Emefiele said the bank equally disbursed N975.61 billion to over 4.52 million smallholder farmers, cultivating 21 agricultural commodities, among other interventions targeted at addressing the financing needs to enhance agricultural value chain.
In Nigeria; wheat remains one of the commodities with the highest demand and despite its high demand, Nigeria produces less than two per cent of its annual wheat consumption needs.
In his remarks, FMAN’s Chairman, John Coumantaros, said that the association was geared towards providing a market for wheat farmers in Nigeria.
Coumantaros, represented by Segun Falade, said the association is expanding its procurement across the wheat producing states through additional aggregation, staff and warehouses.
“Specifically, we’re establishing procurement centres across 15 northern states to offtake all wheat grain from up to 150,000 farmers under the CBN-ABP scheme.”
He listed the states to include Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa, Katsina, Gombe, Plateau, Taraba, Zamfara, Niger and Yobe.
The Chairman said the association would also cultivate 504 demonstration farms in the states, to provide training on GAP to 250,000 farmers under the ABP, while loans would be provided to over 2,000 outgrowers farmers in Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Bauchi and Gombe states.
“Expansion of seed production with six certified seed companies, including both dry and wet season seed production, is to produce sufficient seed for 5,000 outgrowers next season.
”Research and trials on FMAN’s 10-hectare research farm in Jigawa for testing new seed varieties and improved agronomic practices, including collaboration with Lake Chad Research Institute, among others.
“Part of it is also grant funding for the National Agricultural Seed Council to expand their capabilities to test seed quality, certify seed production and train farmers to differentiate high-quality seed from others in the market,” he said.
Some of the farmers, Dauda Ali, Alkasim Aliyu and Muhammad Ado, in their separate remarks, commended the CBN and FMAN for their efforts towards boosting wheat production in the country.
Ali said the new farming techniques introduced had assisted them to achieve higher yields at harvest, and urged the Jigawa Government to construct an access road to ease movement of produce to the markets. (NAN)