New Telegraph

Nigeria shifts to Argentina, India for N246bn wheat import

Following huge shortage, Nigeria has shifted to India, Argentina and the United States to import 673,000 tonnes of wheat valued at N246 billion ($351.3million. The major suppliers, Russia and Ukraine, have closed the Black Sea port since March, 2022. It was learnt that it would take Nigeria 10 years to be selfsufficient in wheat production despite the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP). Argentina is expected to supply 53,000 tonnes, United States, 120,000 tonnes and India, 500,000 tonnes as price of the grain hit $522 per metric tonne.

The wheat will be supplied between October and December, 2022. Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has taken delivery of N258,31 billion between January and March, 2022 before the outbreak of Russia-Ukraine war through the nation’s seaports. This week, three vessels will discharged 95, 000 tonnes at Lagos, Calabar and Rivers ports. According to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’s shipping position, Desert Honour will offload 45,000tonnes at Apapa Bulk Terminals Limited, at the Lagos Port Complex; ETG Southern Cross, 16,000 tonnes at Calabar Port and Bubba Boosh laden with 34,000tonnes will be moored at BUA Ports & Terminal Limited, Rivers Port. In September, four ships ladened with 124,739 tonnes of the grain also berthed at the Lagos Port Complex. Also, the shipping data revealed that Doric Javelin had offloaded 25,600 tonnes at Josepdam terminal in Tincan Island Port, while Bold Voyager with 33,778tonnes; Fortune Hero, 8,753tonnes and Desert Harrier, 56,608 tonnes discharged the cargo at Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited, Lagos Port Complex. Meanwhile, the National Wheat Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NAWFPMAN) said it would cultivate over 200,000 hectares of wheat this season through the CBN)’s ABP.

The ABP scheme, according to CBN, has empowered wheat farmers with the new heat-tolerant varieties of seeds capable of increasing production per hectare to a minimum of four tonnes per hectare. The association stressed the need to meet the cravings of Nigerians in the full value chain of wheat production in the country. The association, which comprises of small holder farmers, processors and marketers across Nigeria, who are major stakeholders in wheat production, benefited in the last Dry Season Wheat Farming CBN intervention of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP). National President of the Association, Alhaji Adamu Ardo, urged the Federal Government to boost wheat production in Nigeria, with a view to helping solve the problem of wheat importation in Nigeria which will help reduce cost of cost of wheat-based products.

He explained in Abuja that the association benefited from the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) last season and cultivated over 15,000 hectares of wheat, which was bought by Flour Millers Association of Nigeria (FMAN), adding that the development resulted into cutting down of wheat importation by flour millers to about half of their previous year’s imports. Ardo noted that what the current administration achieved in the area of self-sufficiency in rice production could be replicated in wheat production. He said: “As it was done for rice where we are now self sufficient in its production – which is a positive achievement by this administration, it can as well be done in the area of wheat production.

The after effect of this intervention to the masses will definitely be in terms of reduction of cost in flour based items. “We intend to cultivate over 200,000 hectares of wheat this season with CBN intervention to ensure Nigeria becomes self sufficient in wheat the way we have become self sufficient in rice.” Also, the National Secretary of the Association, Princess Shola Amushitan, a passionate farmer of many years, who is also known as mama wheat, had commended the CBN and reiterated the readiness of the Association in cultivating the 200,000 hectares in this year’s dry season farming.

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