NIGERIA – The federal government of Nigeria has obtained a US$163 million loan from the African Development Bank to boost wheat production, World Grains has reported.

Nigerian Vice President Kashim Shettima said this in Kebbi State when he paid a condolence visit to the Emirate and family of late Sheikh Abubakar Giro while re-affirming the determination of the Tinubu administration to fulfill all its promises to Nigerians, particularly in the agricultural sector.

Shettima said 50,000 hectares in Jigawa State and 10,000 hectares in Kebbi would be utilized as part of the wheat project, which would be launched Nov. 10 as part of the government’s commitment to agriculture and food security.

Nigeria, with a population of about 217 million people, has the largest market in Africa. Despite its substantial arable land area, the country is one of the largest importers of wheat in Africa

According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the country spends billions of dollars each year on imports to meet the growing demand, which was expected to reach 6.06 million tons in the 2022-23 season.

However, in the recent forecast, the FAS projected a production of 156,000 tonnes of wheat for 2023-24, up 42% from 2022-23, from a harvested area of 130,000 hectares, an increase of 30%.

The forecast follows that the government of Nigeria 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.

As part of its wheat self-sufficiency drive, the government aims to cultivate 250,000 hectares of wheat during the 2023-24 cropping season.

Last month, the Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN), a partnership of flour Millers invested N200m (US$260,000) in support of the production of quality grains to bolster the wheat sector in the country.

Olalekan Saliu, the Executive Secretary of FMAN earlier said that to meet the wheat production target, 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 this objective, recently, FMAN 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.

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