FG blows N60bn on wheat importation

The Federal Government spends over N60 billion yearly on importation of wheat, it has been revealed.
Executive Director, Lake Chad Research Institute, Maiduguri, Dr O.G Olabanji, disclosed this during his advocacy and sensitisation visit on Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, recently.
Olabanji explained that wheat importation was, therefore, an issue which the Federal Government, and the states must address aggressive by fashioning out way forward for wheat self-sufficiency in Nigeria.
He pointed out that Lake Chad Research Institute is one of the 16 agricultural research institutes in the country, adding that the institute was charged with mandate of genetic improvement of wheat, millet and barley investigation into problems of production of all agricultural food crops grown in the bread ecological zone of the North Eastern Nigeria and provision of a coherent scientific information package to help solve practical problems relating to successful, sustained and environmentally balanced wheat production.

Olabanji explained further that the research focus is developing early maturity high yielding drought tolerant, diseases and pest resistant varieties in the various ecological zones in the country where the mandate crops are grown.
“We have in the recent past developed and released four high yielding varieties of wheat with a potential yield 4.0-4.5 hectare,” he said.
He said that as part of the institutes’ strategy to drive the wheat Agricultural Transformation Agenda, the institutes partner with international research centres like Cimmyt in Mexico and ICARDA in Tunisia for gem last exchange and capacity building.

Responding on behalf of Lamido, the Jigawa tate Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaji Rabiu Isa Taura, said that it is part of the state government’s policy to assist farmers on food production.
He stated that the state government drilled boreholes and procured 2,000 generators as well as suppled adequate fertilizer and all were distributed to farmers to discourage youths from going to other parts of the country for greater pasture.
The state government, according to him, already had its agricultural extension workers deploted across the state.

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