President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday launched Nigeria’ s first- ever rain- fed commercial wheat cultivation at the Wheat Seed Multiplication Farm in Kwall, Bassa LGA, Plateau State, calling on Nigerian farmers to embrace wheat farming and stop importing the product, which costs the country over $2 billion annually.
At the launch, President Buhari, who was represented by Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong, stated that agriculture is one of the critical non- oil sectors that has made significant contributions to GDP, accounting for 22. 35 and 23. 78 percent of overall GDP in the first and second quarters of 2021, respectively.
He stated that a main priority of his administration has been the deployment of measures to ensure that agriculture thrives in Nigeria so that the economy may grow tremendously and residents can attain optimum wellbeing by providing food and energy security.
Nigeria, according to Buhari, is on the road to achieving sustainability in the production of rice, maize, cassava, soybean, peanut, oil palm, and cocoa, and will soon achieve a breakthrough in wheat cultivation.
He bemoaned the fact that Nigeria continues to spend vast sums of money on wheat imports, which he believes is unacceptable given the country’ s capacity to meet local demand as well as export.
” It is critical to emphasize that Nigeria now spends over $2 billion yearly on wheat imports, which is one of the major contributors to the country’ s massive foreign import bill, ” he stated. This is due to the fact that millers have had to import wheat to meet the high demand for wheat by- products.
” Wheat farming, like rice cultivation, has the potential to prosper in Nigeria due to its tropical climate. Wheat is now grown in many Northern states, especially during the dry season, thanks to the high heat tolerance of the seed used by farmers. ”
The President expressed his delight at the start of dry- season wheat farming in 2021/2022, noting that wheat can also be grown in the wet season in Plateau State, and that research also shows that it can be grown in other Plateaus in the country, including Taraba State’ s Gembu Plateau and Cross River State’ s Obudu Plateau. He urged these states to seize the opportunity and participate in the program.
The President praised the Central Bank of Nigeria for implementing the Anchor Borrowers Program across practically all sectors of the economy, as seen by the recent implementation of certain transformative measures such as the 100 for 100 strategy for production and productivity.