Olam boosts private sector investment in wheat production with

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Through Chinyere Anyanwu

the The Federal Government and its agencies, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), have consistently made the achievement of self-sufficiency in food production the one of the priority areas of the policies implemented in recent years. decade.

One segment that has been identified as critical for the development of the country’s agricultural value chain is the wheat production segment. It has been recognized as essential for accelerating the achievement of national food security, self-sufficiency in production, and expanding state revenue channels. Indeed, the segment continues to grow in importance due to a huge pivot of households towards the consumption of non-traditional wheat-derived foods such as bread, semolina, pasta and pastries.

The goal of transforming the nation into a food basket would not be achieved without the concerted efforts of stakeholders. These efforts are needed to address food supply gaps by initiating and funding tailored food development programs and ensuring appropriate engagement along the food value chain to support the population and relieve the state.

This explains why Crown Flour Mill Limited (CFM), the wheat milling company and a subsidiary of Olam Nigeria, is investing in a local wheat production development initiative aimed at tackling the factors that have hampered the growth of wheat cultivation in the country. The initiative called “Seeds for the Future” is implemented in partnership with the Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI) and is structured to use the extensive capacities of local researchers and the network of smallholder women farmers in cooperative unions. to achieve its goals. .

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Through this collaborative framework, CFM and LCRI set up a wheat trial project in Hadejia, Jigawa State, northwestern Nigeria. The main objective of the research project is to disseminate high throughput and adaptable seed varieties for smallholder farmers. The seed genotypes used in the research work were introduced by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) alongside the best national controls. Sowing began on November 17, 2021.

CFM takes practical and achievable steps to adopt an effective management system that uses the valuable network of community farmers’ associations to improve local production. Helping the country scale up the production of adaptable seed varieties (the best bet) that suit the local topography is essential for the growth of the local culture. It is estimated that 10 cooperative unions of small-scale wheat producers made up of at least 10 women each would be engaged in a cycle of seed testing, multiplication and marketing. Testing for the best seed varieties adapted to local climatic conditions has begun. Each women’s cooperative union will receive one ton of certified seed to grow. The seed would further be multiplied according to a well-guided cycle to ensure regular multiplication in village enterprises or women’s associations.

It is estimated that the Seeds for the Future project will engage at least 10,000 farmers per year as seed multipliers who will cultivate around 100,000 ha of land with the high yielding seed varieties by 2030. The project is expected to generate around 200 000 tons of seeds. for multiplication and commercialization which, according to Ashish Pande, Managing Director, CFM, will generate income and yields that will directly impact the lives of farmers and cooperatives engaged in the project.

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