FG’ll develop wheat value chain to conserve foreign exchange – Minister

Uba Group

BY VICTORIA ONU, ABUJA

THE Federal Government has said that it will develop the wheat value chain to conserve the huge amount spent on the importation of the product.

It also advocated the adoption of new farming technologies and robust synergy among stakeholders as critical tools for the development of the wheat value chain.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Sabo Nanono, said promoting development in the wheat value chain would reduce importation, enhance food security, reduce poverty, create jobs and conserve scarce foreign exchange for the country.

Nigeria spends about $2.2bn annually on the importation of wheat.

Nanono, speaking during the National Wheat Stakeholders Workshop in Kano State at the weekend, said that the Ministry, through the Wheat Value Chain, had put in place various measures to increase wheat production and productivity, as well as reduce the import bill.

He noted that the country`s consumption pattern was greatly in favour of wheat and its derivatives such as pasta, noodles, flour, biscuits, baby foods and confectionary.

The Minister said this had resulted in a major gap between production and national consumption, as well as widening import bills.

“It is therefore expected of all of us here to come up with how Nigeria can meet her wheat demand rather than importation,” he noted.

In his remarks, the Deputy Governor of Kano State, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuma, commended the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for the various policies in the agricultural sector.

He added that the stakeholders’ forum was critical towards achieving self reliance on food production, especially wheat.

Gawuma urged the stakeholders to decide on how to move wheat production to the next level by targeting better seeds, new technologies and increased Internally Generated Revenue.