NASS pledges budgetary support to boost wheat production

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Nigeria’s National Assembly has expressed readiness to provide budgetary support that will enable the country to achieve significant increase in wheat production.

Speaking at the stakeholders’ validation workshop for the National Wheat Strategy Document for Self-Sufficiency organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in Abuja on Tuesday, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Research Institutions, Hon. Munir Danagundi noted that, Nigeria despite being endowed with the requisite human and natural resources, still imports above 95 percent of its national wheat demand, hence, the need for an urgent parliamentary intervention.

The lawmaker said the country desired to end wheat importation, but lacked adequate and strategic plans.

He, however, expressed hope that the country was now on the path to getting things right with the development of a strategy document on wheat self-sufficiency, which must be followed by strict implementation.

Hon. Danagundi said he believed that the document to be validated contains solutions to the challenges of low productivity, poor seed quality, poor extension delivery, inadequate mechanization, access to credit and insurance, as well as value addition and marketing faced by wheat producers.

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Delivering his keynote address at the event, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mahmood Abubakar, pledged to leave no stone unturned until the country attained self-sufficiency in wheat through proper implementation of the strategy document.

He called for collaboration among key stakeholders, especially the Ministry of Water Resources since wheat was a dry season crop.

On his part, the Nigerian Country Director of African Development Bank Group, Mr. Lamin Barrow, represented by Engr. Tabi Karikari reiterated the readiness of the AfDB to support the efforts of the Nigerian government and key stakeholders to develop the wheat sector in the country.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria’s national demand for wheat is 5.7 million metric tons, but the country at the moment produces only 71 thousand metric tons, leaving a deficit of over 4.9 million metric tons.

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