Wheat farmers in Nigeria are warming up for what they call “bumper yield” as harvest begins across wheat producing states. The crop, which is mostly cultivated in the Northern part of the country during the dry season tops the nation’s food import bill.
Mr. Lanre Jaiyeola, Deputy Chairman, Floor Mill Association of Nigeria told journalists in Abuja during the signing of MoU with wheat farmers that Nigeria’s wheat requirement is 4.5 million tonnes per annum adding that the country only produces 120,000 metric tonnes, representing 2.6%.
The gap of over 4 million tonnes is costing the nation over $4 billion annually.
Daily Trust correspondents in major producing states visited a number of farms in Kebbi, Katsina, and Kano to interact with farmers on what their expectations are. In Kebbi, our correspondent reports that following the bumper harvest recorded for wheat production last year, farmers in the state have decided to double their productions this year.
Speaking to our correspondent, Chairman of the Wheat Farmers Association in Kebbi State, Alhaji Abdullahi Mai-Gandu said, “Kebbi has never had it good in wheat production like it did last year and this year.”
He said Kebbi recorded a high yield in wheat production last year.
“This year has also started yielding results as some farmers have already begun harvesting their wheat. I have 20 hectares of wheat field in Argungu and another 30 hectares near LABANA Rice Mills in Birnin Kebbi area and they are doing well,” he said.
Alhaji Mai-Gandu added that the support given to farmers by the state government has gone a long way to boost wheat production in the state.
The state governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu during one of his visits to wheat farms in Argungu said given the bumper harvest recorded in the state, his administration was convinced that Kebbi would soon meet Nigeria’s demand for wheat and within a year, it would be able to export the product to other countries in West Africa.
From Katsina, our correspondent said wheat farmers in the state were yet to fully start harvesting the produce, due to late planting as they awaited the federal government support through the Anchor Borrower Scheme.
During a weekend visit to Mairuwa and Barebari irrigation fields in Faskari and Funtua LGAs respectively, Daily Trust noticed that only a few wheat farmers harvested the produce while majority of them were geared up for the harvest in the next two to four weeks.
A farmer in Mairuwa Alhaji Sani Masaka said lack of timely support from government’s Anchor Borrower Scheme hampered early planting of the crop which led to the late and staggered harvest of the produce this year.
He added that government’s aim of self-sufficiency in wheat production has renewed the interest of farmers in the cultivation of the crop and the target is achievable in the near future. This is possible when farmers are supported with the required input at an appropriate time.
One of the few farmers that harvested the produce in Barebari, Abdullahi Idi Barebari said he was one of the few that planted early to avoid missing the hamattan season suitable for wheat farming.
“Wheat requires cold season to blossom and when you risk planting it late there is tendency of low output especially when the crop crosses over to the hot season. My target was to plant about four acres of land but as the government support was not forthcoming at the appropriate time, I ended up using my meager resources to cultivate little over an acre which I harvested last week,” Abdullahi Idi said.
A wheat dealer in Funtua, Malam Yusha’u Sada confirmed the supply of the newly harvested wheat in the market which has significantly reduced its price.
“In the last three months a bag of wheat was sold at N43,000 but with a gradual introduction of new wheat, the price has reduced to N30,000 per bag. Considering its large scale cultivation this year, at the peak of its harvest, the price would reduce significantly.” Malam Yusha’u said.
In Kano, a lot of wheat farmers are optimistic that all indicators are pointing to a bumper harvest.
According to Kano State Chairman, Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) Malam Faruk Rabi’u, as far as the association is concerned, anchor borrower for Kano wheat farmers has not been approved.
A visit to Bagwai irrigation centre in Kano revealed that wheat farmers have had a hitch free season and are expecting a bumper harvest this year. A wheat farmer Alhaji Danliti Idris, said last year’s harvest was 44 bags per hectare and this year, they are expect about 60 bags or more per hectare.
It was also gathered that in Kano State, a bag of new Nigerian wheat is now sold at N32,000 while imported wheat in sold at N28,000 per bag, a situation most wheat is now sold at N32,000 while imported wheat in sold at N28,000 per bag, a situation most wheat farmers deemed favourable to their business compared to last year’s season.
Wheat Farmers Association in the state said they produced 100,000 metric tonnes last year and expect to produce more than that this year.
Similarly, our correspondent reports from Sokoto that farmers are expressing optimism for high yield because of prolonged dry weather which is said to be suitable for wheat farming.
Our reporter who visited some wheat farmlands in Silame, Goronyo and Kwalkwalawa observed some of them were ripe for harvest.
“There is no cause for alarm despite some hitches that I encountered in the beginning. But we are hoping for a bumper harvest at the end of the season,” Malam Umar Ado a wheat farmer disclosed.
According to him, the bag of wheat which was hitherto sold at N35,000 has now reached N40,000 “which is very encouraging.”
He listed some of their challenges to include lack of access to fund because government only supported associations not individual farmers.
He added that there was a threat rodents like rats which are eating up their crops and inadequacy of fertilizer.
Daily Trust learnt that many rice producers were into wheat farming because of the existing arrangement between the state government and the Nigeria Flour Mills which promised to provide farmers with seeds, fertilizers and insecticide and buy their produce using the current market price after harvest.
However, not all the farmers were reached by the programme.
Speaking, an agricultural expert, Alhaji Sa’idu Mohammed who projected bumper harvest said those who were not reached were not registered farmers.
Read more at http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/agriculture/wheat-farmers-expect-bumper-yield-as-harvest-begins/186484.html#PtoJdtZg6SaMdKt5.99