From Theresa Egba, Abuja
The Federal Government is to save a whopping $4.6 billion from wheat importation as Lake Chad research institute has come up with a new variety of improved seedling already accepted by farmers.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh yesterday in Abuja.
According to him, the ministry is currently doing soil mapping. “And we would soon be distributing variety of seeds to farmers which would address other sectors in the agricultural value chain”. Ogbe said.
He also promised that his ministry would continue with the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) introduced by his predecessor, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. To this effect, the minister said the Federal government is prepared to expand such initiative by deepening researches in other varieties of agricultural value chains, a move the Minister said would involved bringing back agricultural research institutes to consolidate researches in other varieties of identified seedlings for food sufficiency and growth of the economy.
While speaking further, he stressed on the initiative of the Federal Government to attract more youths in agriculture.
“The current set of farmers we have are already aging,and we are coming up with an initiative called Labour intensive Family Enterprise, ‘LIFE’,which is a programme designed to attract more youth and women into the agricultural sector”
The Executive director of Lake Chad Research Institute Maiduguri Oluwasina said that the research on the variety of the variety of wheat commenced in 1987,but with improved research and persistence,the institute came up with the variety called-’ which according to him has been widely accepted by farmers.
Further findings revealed that Nigeria requires 4 million metric tonnes of wheat annually for self sufficiency in wheat production,as available records,shows wheat farmers cultivate only 350 000 metric tonnes,leaving a wider gap of 3.65 million metric tonnes of wheat to be explored through cultivating larger expanse of land in the sector.
“We have the Land especially in the North East for such cultivation,we believe that youths all over the country could take advantage of these gap and fill it,and make much money for themselves,and make our nation self sufficient in wheat productions”he added.