Chinazor Megbolu |
The Federal Government has said that the nation’s annual import bill will soon reach N1.601 trillion.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mallam Sabo Nanono said this during a national Stakeholders workshop on wheat production in Kano State, saying that Nigeria spends around $4.2 billion, which is over N1.601 trillion on wheat production each year.
The Minister noted that a Maiduguri-based Lake Chad Research Institute, due to local cultivation is grossly inadequate to meet 4.7 million metric tonnes of domestic demand.
Nanono, who was represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mr. Karima Babangida, also explained that the northern part has been the strongest region in producing the limited output that could be boasted of even though research areas to the availability of wheat-friendly soil in the South-South geopolitical zone and some other parts of Nigeria.
He further stated that the nation’s wheat production will soon increase to 15,560 metric tonnes after obtaining wheat breads of varying yield abilities.
Nanono during the workshop, pointed out that the ministry had mapped out strategies aimed towards cutting Nigeria’s humongous wheat importation spending and bolstering self-sufficiency.
Nanono maintained the ministry had garnered 30MT of breeder seeds, which will translate to 1,650MT of foundation seeds; 50MT off foundation seeds, which will also translate to 2,500MT of certified seeds.
“It also procured 326MT of certified wheat seeds which will give 11,410MT of grains in the 2020/2021 season.
“This effort is expected to result to the addition of 15,560MT of wheat to the national food basket,” he said.
He buttressed that the wheat production expansion would draw strength from uptake of new agricultural technologies and stakeholders’ collaboration and boost food security and also help to conserve foreign exchange reserves.
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