The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has devised strategic action plans to increase wheat production by addressing existing difficulties in the value chain and bolstering the country’s foreign reserves.
Mr Philip Yila Yusuf, Director of the CBN’s Development Finance Department, revealed this at a wheat conference and stakeholder engagement in Abuja over the weekend, themed: “Improving and Sustaining the Wheat Value Chain Development in Nigeria.”
He emphasized the wheat value chain’s immense potential for ground-breaking impact in the agricultural sector, stating that the bank planned to focus attention on the wheat value chain for dry season planting in 2021/2022 after making sustainable progress throughout the rice and maize value chains.
Yusuf said, “The CBN plans to address key problems in the value chain through financing massive production of wheat in Nigeria and seeks to facilitate sustained availability of high yield seed variety in the country and improve general productivity.”
He also stated that wheat was the second-highest contributor to the country’s food import bill, putting strain on the country’s foreign reserve, with over $2 billion spent annually on the importation of more than 5 million Metric Tons (MT) of wheat.
Furthermore, he estimated that only 1%, or 63,000 metric tons (MT), of the 5-6 million MT of wheat eaten yearly was grown locally, stating that the CBN’s involvement had become critical due to Nigeria’s high need for wheat and inability to meet that demand.
While acknowledging the Bank’s significant task, which will require joint efforts to overcome, he assured stakeholders of the Bank’s preparedness to change the sector’s narrative alongside all stakeholders.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Abubakar who was represented by Abdullahi Garba, expressed disappointment that the country’s wheat importation and wheat import bills had continued to climb in recent years. As a result, he urged all stakeholders to work together in the next years to reverse the trend by increasing value chain investment.
In a goodwill message issued by his deputy, , Kano State, urged all stakeholders to be transparent in their transactions and to begin preparing for wheat growing and production.
Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who was represented by his deputy, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna praised the CBN for its efforts in enhancing the wheat value chain and urged the bank to move faster in releasing money, emphasizing the importance of collaboration among wheat value chain players in Nigeria’s ambition to become self-sufficient in wheat production. (Nairametrics)