From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Dissatisfied with the high rate of wheat import into Nigeria, the federal government has entered into partnership with Crown Flour Mill (OLAM grains) to drastically minimise it.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Sabo Nanono disclosed it when the management of the company led by its Corporate Affairs Manager, Damilola Adeniyi, paid him a courtesy call at the weekend in Abuja.
Nanono stated that the initiative would reduce wheat importation, enhance food security and nutrition, conserve scarce foreign exchange and create jobs.
According to him, the ministry has put in place deliberate measures to ensure the increase in wheat production capacity including, the provision of quality seeds and in the distribution of agricultural inputs to Nigerian farmers, adding that the ministry will support the group in its development efforts.
He stated that with the intervention of Crown Flour Mills such as those of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN), Transformation for Africa Agricultural Technologies (TAAT) and the Wheat Compact Project, Nigeria will experience a sustainable sufficiency in the local production of wheat.
Adeniyi said the purpose of the visit was to update the minister on the group’s activities and to seek collaboration with the ministry to leverage on Nigeria’s wheat growing potential by bringing in new seed varieties and modern technology to facilitate growth and expansion of wheat production in the country.
She added that the company plans to introduce the findings of a research trials it conducted recently on the cultivation of a heat tolerant variety of wheat.
She expressed optimism that the process will boost local production of wheat, increase quantity and improve quality.
She also informed the minister that the Crown Flour Mills has been involved in various developmental efforts such as research and seed trials, capacity building in modern agricultural practices, distribution of inputs, etc. targeting smallholder wheat farmers and key players in the wheat production value chain
As one of its corporate social responsibilities, Adeniyi said the group was committed to the sustained training of Nigerian wheat farmers, provision of quality seeds for increased production and also in the patronage of their produce.