From Uche Usim, Jos
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday, unveiled its wheat value chain intervention programme captured under the Nigerian Brown Revolution, which seeks to save $2 billion spent on importing five million metric tons of wheat annually.
The scheme involves over 150,000 farmers cultivating 180,000 hectares of land in about 15 states and targeting 60 per cent first year import substitution and ultimately saving $2 billion per annum.
Speaking at the event held in Jos, the Plateau State capital, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Mr. Edward Lamtek Adamu, revealed that the brown revolution was an offshoot of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
According to him, the ABP has recorded successes in supporting smallholder farmers to increase the cultivation of different commodities across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Through the programme, N788.035 billion has been disbursed to about four million farmers through 23 Participating Financial Institutions (PFI). So far, 4.796 million hectares of farmlands have been cultivated under the programme covering 21 commodities.
“Wheat is the third most widely consumed grain in Nigeria after maize and rice. It is estimated that the country only produces about one per cent (63,000 metric tons) of the 5-6 million metric tons of the commodity consumed annually in Nigeria. This enormous demand-supply gap is bridged with over $2 billion spent annually on wheat importation. This has made wheat the second highest contributor to the country’s food import bill.
“Given the high growth rate of the country’s population and the demographic structure, the demand for wheat is projected to continue to rise. This can only intensify pressure on the country’s reserves unless we take a decisive step to grow wheat locally.