Nigeria has moved to boost the production of wheat in the country as it partners with food and agri-business giant, Olams International Limited, to develop seed varieties of the grain that are suitable for its climate, which will boost local output and reduce the country’s dependence on importation of the product.
This is coming at a time that the global food system has been in crisis due to the pressure from the Russia-Ukraine war.
According to Bloomberg, this was made known by the Country Head for Olam-Agric Nigeria, Ashish Pande, during a virtual media briefing where he said that Olam unit Crown Flour Mill has produced the nucleus seeds suitable for Nigeria’s topography and climate.
The Principal Research Officer at Lake Chad Research Institute, Kachalla Mala, had also at the event said that the new seeds give assurance that the investment of Olam will accelerate production in Nigeria, Africa’s largest buyer of wheat, across the wheat-farming belt.
What you should know
- The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has consistently been trying to boost wheat production locally in order to address the rising cost of the commodity through various support programmes to farmers in terms of funding, inputs, technical know-how, off-taking arrangements and others.
- The apex bank had in April 2021, included wheat as one of the items listed in the Forex restriction list in order to encourage local production of the commodity and ultimately reduce the pressure on Nigeria’s foreign exchange market.
- The CBN had also earlier in the year announced an increase in funding to stimulate local wheat production due to global increase in prices as well as the need to redirect the foreign exchange spent on importing the commodity.
- Nigeria imports most of its wheat for local consumption as the US Department of Agriculture had said that the country only produced 1% of the 4.7 million tons of the commodity it consumed in 2021
- Local wheat production has been negatively affected by lack of appropriate seed varieties that can be grown in local weather conditions, high fertilizer costs and the lack of irrigation facilities.
- The boosting of local production of wheat has become very imperative due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war which has affected food prices globally.
- Russia and Ukraine account for one-third of global wheat production, with expected shortage of the commodity in the global market
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