By Oludele Taiwo
The National Programme Manager, Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN), Wheat Development Project, Dr. Aliyu Samaila, has said that all efforts must be made to increase farmers’ yields in order to sustainably expand wheat production in the country and to make it competitive with rice and other dry season crops. He stated this while speaking during the Kebbi wheat farmers green field day in Bunza LGA of the state.
He said that the cultivation of 114-hectare demonstration farms across the six northern states of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, Plateau, Taraba and Yobe to provide training on good agronomic practice was also part of their development plan. He said FMAN was establishing procurement centres across 13 states to off-take all wheat grain from up to 50,000 farmers in its 2022/2023 programme, stating that their number one role was to provide market for wheat farmers in the country in the following states: Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa, Gombe, Plateau, Taraba, Zamfara, and Yobe.
According to him, “We cultivated 200 hectares of land for wheat production in 2022, and we have now doubled it to 400 this year in Kebbi. We are expanding our procurement as an industry across the wheat producing states through additional aggregation staff and warehouse capacity. We will expand FMAN’s direct outgrower programme with input loans to cover 4,300 farmers across 3,900 hectares in seven states of Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Bauchi and Zamfara. We will also expand seed production with six certified seed companies, including both dry and wet season seed production, to produce sufficient seeds for 10,000 hectares next season, among others”, he said.
Samaila further said IMPAN had intervened in purchasing more than 50,000 tonnes of wheat over the past five years and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to buy any quantity of wheat available at an attractive price based on farmers’ yields. “We purchased wheat directly from more than 4,000 farmers at 40 village-level Wheat Farmer Centres in 2022. We also provided loans of high-yielding seeds, fertilizers and agrochemicals to 400 farmers in 2019 and 700 farmers in 2020 in Kano, Jigawa and Kebbi states. We provided mechanised threshing services to over 1,500 farmers in 2022 on a cash-free basis in exchange for grain. These are in addition to establishing over 100 hectares of wheat seed varietal testing and seed multiplication sites in Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa and Kaduna over the past four years”, he stated further.