NIGERIA- The Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN) has partnered with the Lake Chad Research Institute to release four wheat varieties to farmers to boost local production.

The National Centre for Genetic Resource and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) approved the release at the 36th meeting of the Technical Committee on Naming, Registration, and Release of Crop Varieties held at NACGRAB Moor Plantation in Ibadan.

Dr. Aliyu Samaila, the national programme manager, wheat Development Programme, pointed out that the association plays a catalytic role in improving output, yields, and skills in modern agronomy practices.

According to the statement, the launched varieties are bread wheat (Borlaug-FMAN and NELOKI-FMAN) with a yield potential of up to 7t/ha and maturity of 85-95 days; and Durum wheat (Bayoreca-FMAN and Cirno-FMAN) with yield potential of 6t/ha and maturity of 90-95 days.

FMAN holds that the release of these varieties is bound to revolutionize wheat production in the country by increasing productivity and satisfying the quality demand of the milling industry in the country.

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, local production in this West-African country was estimated at 160,000 tons of wheat in 2022–23, up from 90,000 in 2021–22, according to a report from the annual country analysis on the grains industry dated April 7.

To increase local production, FMAN, which has Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Olam International/Crown Flour Mills Limited, Life Flour Mills Limited, Dufil Prima Foods/Pure Flour Mills Limited, Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Northern Nigeria Flour Mills Plc as members, is working to boost the country’s wheat value chain.

Dr. Samaila added that the association will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders in both the private and public sectors to demonstrate that Nigeria’s wheat production is practicable and profitable.

The interventions of FMAN over the past three years have yielded improved results with a significant boost in Nigeria’s wheat production capacities. Before the interventions, farmers recorded an average of 1MT/ha to 2MT/ha. However, there was a dramatic increase to an average of 3.2MT/ha in 2021/2022,” he commented. 

According to him, the improved performance was the result of the provision of technical support, training, supervision, and regular monitoring of over 35,000 farmers, as well as timely delivery of quality seeds, and fertilizers, amongst several other initiatives which combined to make wheat farming a profitable venture.

During the 2022/23 wheat season, the land area cultivated by FMAN’s out growers went up to over 4,000 hectares across seven northern states,” Samaila said.

Samaila also said that FMAN has been collaborating with the major stakeholders in the Nigerian wheat value chain to create an enabling environment for the development of local wheat production.

Moreover, through partnerships with fin-tech service providers, the group also promotes financial inclusion initiatives for smallholder farmers, including working with mechanization experts to increase harvest volume and quality to decrease post-harvest losses.

FMAN bags prestigious food award 

Meanwhile, FMAN was honored to receive the Industry Association of the Year Award at the recently concluded Africa Food Awards 2023 ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya. 

The award seeks to recognize the efforts and impact of associations in the food industry in promoting sustainable food security and safety. 

 FMAN has been instrumental in enhancing the well-being and potential of the wheat value chain in Nigeria, and this award is a recognition of these efforts and an incentive for the association to continue supporting wheat producers in Nigeria. 

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