The Wheat Producers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) says about $ 6.1 billion is spent each year to import wheat into Nigeria and lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for placing the commodity on the foreign exchange restriction list.
The association’s president, Alhaji Salim Muhammad, made this known at a Wheat Forex press conference in Abuja on Thursday.
According to him, Nigeria consumes five million tonnes of wheat per year, while a meagre 420,000 tonnes is produced locally.
He said that given the many challenges facing local production, the policy would allow the government to unleash unrealized potentials in the wheat sub-sector.
“The foreign exchange restriction policy will give relevant stakeholders the confidence to invest in the wheat sub-sector, as the returns on their investments are protected.
“Production and productivity will automatically increase to meet local demand,” said the president of the association.
Muhammad noted that farmers would be incentivized to produce more as there would be better quality seeds, market access and better prices for their produce.
“We are hiring 600,000 farmers with an average of three tonnes per hectare, which will translate to 1.8 million tonnes of wheat this season.
“We have the ability to produce and feed ourselves if a roadmap to self-sufficiency is adopted via a special-purpose vehicle called the Wheat Round Table (WRT) where all relevant stakeholders work together. ”
Muhammad said that with this policy, the government will move closer to its goal of food sufficiency in the country.
However, he called on the government not to recall the ban, as it would give guarantees of return on investment to private investors in the wheat sector.
He congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari for his intervention to revive agriculture and create more jobs for Nigerians.