*maize, others also on the list
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is revving up investments in the wheat value chain aimed at making Nigeria a net producer of wheat.
When the investments crystalize in a few years’ time, the CBN will cut down to over 70 percent, the foreign wheat consumption demand in Nigeria currently put at almost 6 million metric tones (MT) valued at about USD$2 billion.
Thus, the CBN has concluded plans to fund the production of at least 1.6 million MT of wheat in just 2021.
The CBN Governor Mr. Godwin Emefiele gave the indication February 28th 2022 during the unveiling of the FCT mega rice pyramids under the RIFAN-CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (APB).
The APB is a CBN funded initiative aimed at growing the rural economy and has built a sustainable framework for financing small holder farmers in Nigeria through the Rice Farmers Association (RIFAN).
Mr. Emefiele said: “Taking a cue from our success in the rice value chain, we commenced the ‘Brown Revolution’ in 2021 as our mantra for the transformation of the wheat value chain in Nigeria. Wheat is the 3rd mostly consumed grain in Nigeria after maize and rice. It is estimated that we only produce about 1 per cent (63,000 mt) of the over 6 million MT of wheat consumed annually in Nigeria. This enormous demand-supply gap is bridged with over $2 billion annual importation of wheat.”
He said further that: “As a result, wheat accounts for the second highest food import bill in Nigeria, thereby putting pressure on the nation’s foreign exchange reserves. We have concluded the 1st major wet season wheat farming in Plateau State and planted over 100,000 hectares of wheat across 15 States in the 2021 dry season. This strategic intervention will herald progressive reduction in our wheat import bills over the coming years.”
The CBN also said the revolutions will also happen in maize and other niche areas. Mr. Emefiele said “we also established a Strategic Maize Reserve with the stock of maize submitted as loan repayment by our farmers. This will provide a buffer for price modulation for the poultry and feed mills nationwide. A total of 241,656.76 MT was aggregated in the 2020 wet and dry seasons, out of which 217,218.53 MT has been disposed to 18 millers and poultry farmers through the Poultry Association of Nigeria. The program was able to stabilize the poultry and livestock sectors during the pandemic and saved the industry and consumers over N10 billion in raw material costs.”
The CBN also said the planned resuscitation of Nigeria’s moribund commodity exchange will be the icing on the cake when various interventions in the agricultural commodity space begin to yield result.
“The resuscitation of the Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) is another strategic initiative to enhance the food security drive of your administration. A vibrant commodity exchange will significantly enhance post-harvest handling, reduce wastages and guarantee effective pricing for farmers. It will also minimize the adverse effects of the activities of middlemen, commodity hoarders and ultimately transfer the gains from primary production to other nodes of the value chain. This aligns with our resolve to take outputs as loan repayment under the ABP and the produce will drive the operations of the commodity exchange going forward” he stated.
“We have deepened our stakeholders’ engagement to increase the arable land under cultivation and improve the productivity per hectare using improved seeds and agronomic practices. We are currently exploring a new rice seed variety with RIFAN that has potential to deliver over 8 tons per ha. The pilot programme should commence in the 2022 dry season, and it has the potential of being the game changer for the rice sector in Nigeria. We will work with the various seed certification authorities and explore the possibility of patenting it for RIFAN as part of their legacies under the Programme” Emefiele said.