NIGERIA – The Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN), a partnership of Flour Millers, has invested N200m (US$260,000) in support of the production of quality grains to bolster the wheat sector in Nigeria.
Olalekan Saliu, the Executive Secretary of FMAN disclosed this at the unveiling of laboratory equipment donated to the Nigeria Agricultural Seeds Council by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and Flour Milling Association of Nigeria, led by Flour Mill Nigeria Limited, among others, in Abuja.
According to him, wheat development in Nigeria is a collective effort between the government and the private sector, thus, he called upon the Federal Government to provide some vital infrastructure for the actualization of the agenda.
Saliu revealed that the association has been involved in the development of Nigeria’s wheat value chain since 2016 when they signed an irrevocable undertaking with Nigerian wheat farmers that they will off-take all the wheat grains from farmers.
“We have been doing that without disappointing the farmers and they are very happy with us because they have a guaranteed market,” Saliu said
Nigeria is one of the largest importers of wheat in Africa, spending billions of dollars each year to meet growing demand, which was expected to reach 6.06 million tons in the 2022-23 season, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
However, the government has collaborated with relevant stakeholders in both the private and public sectors to increase local production as well as boost the country’s wheat value chain.
According to Saliu, for wheat development in Nigeria to bear fruit, two critical things must be considered. First, the country must have sufficient irrigated land, where the government should take the lead while the private sector can provide pumps to farmers.
He, therefore, urged the government to revive all the dams that were not functional across the country.
In addition, Saliu stated that the country requires sufficiency of quality seeds adding that the flour milling association engaged seven top seed companies during the last wet season to grow seeds for FMAN.
In line with their objective, recently, the association partnered with the Lake Chad Research Institute to release four wheat varieties in a bid to revolutionize wheat production in the country by increasing productivity and satisfying the quality demand of the milling industry in the country.
On his part, Ishiak Khalid, the acting Director-General of NASC said that the flour millers had continuously supported the council to ensure the availability of quality planting materials for food and industrial purposes, especially around the wheat value chain.
He added that the NASC also signed an MoU with FMAN geared towards supporting the wheat value chain by ensuring the availability of high-quality certified seeds for its wheat out-growers.