With Nigeria being the second largest wheat importer in the world, the Vice President Kashim Shettima has revealed that wheat production in Nigeria is to achieve 50% self sufficiency in the next 3 cycles.
The Vice President made the disclosure during a fire-side chat at the Norman Borlaug International Dialogue, World Food Prize 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa, United States of America.
Speaking on the available framework to achieve this he said “Luckily, we have already procured the heat tolerant variety of wheat seeds and we are going to drive that process by supporting the farmers with the heat tolerant variety, agricultural extention services, fertilizer and also hope to increase the irrigation areas to 1 million hectares in the next cropping cycle.
“We need to produce about 2.4 million tonnes of wheat grains in Nigeria. We are going to reach out to our farmers through small irrigation schemes and through digitalisation. All the actors in the value chain will be sufficiently taken care of through innovative finance, partial credit guarantees and crop insurance,” the VP emphasized.
For rice production, the VP said the major challenge for Nigeria is the insufficiency of paddy rice. He noted that Nigeria has adequate milling capacity but “we need to produce 3 to 4 million tonnes of paddy rice to meet our requirement of about 2.5 million tonnes per annum. We have 75 million hectares of arable land and most of it suited for rice cultivation.”
He added that “we will provide our farmers with certified seeds, fertilzer, extension services, the digitlization of services, inputs, finance and market information. Our target is to achieve self sufficiency in rice latest by 2027.”
Reiterating the Tinubu administration’s commitment to providing an enabling environment for investors in the zones, he spoke about the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs). Adding that the government would create a SAPZ development authority that will operate like a one-stop shop where regulatory and associated issues will be addressed.
On the other hand, during the fire-side chat with the AfDB President, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, VP Shettima who spoke on the Tinubu administration’s initiatives for food security said the quality of present leadership in Nigeria and the rest of Africa will drive transformation in agriculture and other sectors.
According to him, “a nation falls or rises fundamentally due to the quality of its leadership. Right now Africa is blessed with quite a handful of quality leaders that have the drive, passion and skills set to redefine the meaning and concept of modern leadership.
“Bola Ahmed Tinubu, my boss, is a good example, Macky Sall of Senegal and of course, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt are doing wonderfully well, just to mention a few of the African leaders that are distinguishing themselves in leadership.
“I want to assure this gathering of investors and stakeholders in the agricultural sector that my boss, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a quintessential 21st century modern African leader who is determined to redefine the meaning and concept of modern leadership.
“Be rest assured that there will be a sea change in the fortunes of the Nigerian nation and by extention the African continent in the next couple of years because Nigeria is an anchor nation,” the VP added.