The Federal Government, on Tuesday, revealed that Nigeria spent $6bn on wheat importation into the country between 2016 and 2020, a period of five years.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mahmood Abubakar, at the Stakeholders Validation Workshop of the National Wheat Strategy Document in Abuja.
With the growing population and consumption rate of wheat and its products, the minister stated that Nigeria had no option than to boost its productivity to meet the country’s increasing demand.
Abubakar said, “The wheat industry has been of serious concern to the Federal Government. This is because of the national requirement for wheat is 5.7 million metric tonnes annually, while our production is 420,000 metric tonnes.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria Statistical Report 2020 shows that Nigeria imported $6bn worth of wheat from 2016 to 2020. This is worrisome and unsustainable for a crop that could be produced locally.”
However, the minister noted that the draft National Wheat Strategy Document was developed as a policy framework to increase production, incomes and the competitiveness in local production for smallholder wheat farmers.
He also stressed that the multiplier effects of COVID-19 and the current Russian/Ukraine war had drastically affected the supply of wheat in the international market, stating that the success story in rice production through the National Rice Strategy Document had transformed the country’s rice industry, adding that the replication in Nigeria’s wheat sector would change the narrative of the value chain.