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Wheat production in Nigeria to see a 42% rise

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Miller’s association and wheat farmers signed an MOU for a competitive price.

According to the latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grain report, a 42 percent increase in Nigerian wheat output would occur between July 2023 and 2024 as a result of a competitive guaranteed price agreed upon by farmers and millers. This is due to the recently signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Flour Millers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) and the Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) to negotiate fair prices for purchases. Therefore, the USDA predicts a 53% increase in Nigeria’s output from the 2022–2023 market year of 110,000 metric tonnes (MT) to the 2023-24 market year of 156,000 MT.

It added that the final price will be determined by an agreed upon markup added to the manufacturing cost, with input from both FMAN and WFAN. It will have a ready market owing to the MOU, it said. Further, in 2023/24, FMAN plans to contract with six accredited seed firms to generate enough enhanced seeds to plant 10,000 hectares during the dry and wet seasons combined. Also, 4,300 farmers in the wheat-growing states of Bauchi, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi, Zamfara, and Kaduna would be eligible for input loans under this scheme.

Intercropping farming method is beloved to increase output.

In contrast, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture believes that intercropping is an efficient method that may be used to increase output. As a direct consequence of this, farmers in northern Nigeria are increasingly turning to the rice-wheat intercropping method. At the same time, traditional dry-season rice farmers are beginning to grow the commodities together on the same piece of land. The federal government anticipates that the intercropping system, which will get financial assistance and possibilities for outreach, will lead to an increase in output in a short term.

Additionally, as part of its initiative to achieve self-sufficiency, the government plans to plant it on a total area of 250,000 hectares during the cropping season of 2023–2024. In the month of December 2022, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture provided 5600 wheat farmers with a distribution of 280 MT of a high-yielding seed variety, agricultural chemicals, and pieces of field equipment. In a similar vein, the African Development Bank (AfDB) backs the efforts of the government of Nigeria to produce locally enhanced wheat seeds.

AfDB food fund is expected to increase the country’s food production.

To assist African nations in averting future food devastation, the AfDB established a $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility in 2022. The bank predicted that spending $1.5 billion on the plan would result in the harvesting of 11 million tonnes of wheat, 18 million tonnes of maize, 6 million tonnes of rice, and 2.5 million tonnes of soybeans. Acreage and yield may be expanded with the use of these inputs, especially improved seeds. In 2023/24, the average yield per hectare is anticipated to rise to 1.2 MT/ha, a 9 percent increase from the previous year.

The report also forecasts the area harvested to increase by 30 percent to 130,000 hectares in 2023/24 from 100,000 hectares in 2022/23. However, security challenges across the commodity-producing region will continue to restrict farmers’ access to fields. In addition, high production costs, stem borer infestation, and a weak financial support system will adversely affect production in 2023/24, the report has said. Similarly to the high inflation and supply chain disruptions caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, millers across Nigeria are operating below capacity because of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, high cost of production and distribution, and reduced sales caused by eroding consumer purchasing power.

People are now shifting attention to starch-based food.

On the other hand, consumers are now price conscious and are moving away from wheat-based items such as bread in favor of more economical alternatives, notably starchy foods like yam, cassava, plantain, and beans. Moreover, if the prices rise across the world, imports of the commodity will decrease while its local output will increase modestly. In 2022, according to the official statistics, imports of durum wheat from Russia, which is one of the key suppliers for the nation at a cheaper rate, saw a significant decrease.

Related Link

USDA: Website

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