A map of Nigeria
From Jimoh Babatunde
Dr. Filippo Bassi, the International Center for Agricultural Research in Arid Areas, ICARDA’s award-winning senior scientist, has asked Nigeria to identify the best wheat seed variety for each region of the country.
Speaking at the Olam Green Land’s webinar, titled “Deepening the Wheat Development Program in Nigeria through Innovation, Increasing Investment and Collaboration,” Bassi said the land must also consider factors such as seed maturity, yield, irrigation and grinding quality for a level optimal wheat supply at national level.
Dr. Filippo Bassi, who is also the head of the durum wheat breeding program at Morocco-based ICARDA, said, “Once this is done it will be easier to work with the various partners to deliver the ‘perfect’ variety.”
While urging farmers to always use the correct techniques when growing wheat, he said that wheat doesn’t need too much water to grow, unlike rice, which needs a lot of water.
He said there is a need to develop human skills because growing wheat “is not just about planting and harvesting; Trainers need to be trained because wheat research is all about “heredity”.
Bassi added that there are modern devices that can support the smooth cultivation of wheat, which is high in protein and micro-elements.
“Wheat is more than a grain, it replaces the fallow season, reduces soil erosion, produces straw as feed for the animals and creates jobs and income in rural areas.”
During the webinar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Alhaji Sabo Nanono stated that the government is ready to assist stakeholders in increasing local wheat production.
Alhaji Sabo Nanono, represented by his technical advisor on knowledge management and communication, Richard-Mark Mbaram, stated that the federal government is ready to reduce imports of wheat products into the country, which is why there is a need for stakeholders in the wheat value chain .
He stated that the federal government would explore research and mechanization and that in the end, key players in the Nigerian wheat value chain like Olam Nigeria would export wheat products to the rest of the world.
Ashish Pande, Managing Director of Crown Flour Mill, a subsidiary of Olam Nigeria, spoke about the rationale for the webinar and said it was part of the company’s contribution to support the ongoing efforts of the government and industry stakeholders to achieve Nigeria’s self-aspiration – Inadequacy of wheat production and the overarching goal of food security.
According to Pande, the webinar will be a platform for engagement and exchange of ideas between stakeholders along the agricultural value chain. “The webinar series is our latest intervention program in support of Nigeria’s agro-food supply.
He continued, “Our only goal in opening the Olam series of webinars is to enable conversations that will help all critical stakeholders take action by creating an ecosystem of partnerships and collaborations that fosters positive change.”
Vanguard News Nigeria