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July 25, 2024
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‘We Have Mandate for Transformation, Not in Competition With Anybody’ – WECAWheat Regional Network Coordinator

The Regional Network Coordinator (RNC) of the West and Central Africa Collaborative Wheat Network (WECAWheat), Prof. Benjamin Ewa Ubi has said that they are not in competition with anybody but rather on a mandate to transform the wheat sector in the region. 

This was disclosed during the Regional Wheat Summit 2023, themed, “Upscaling Investment In The Wheat Value Chain in West & Central Africa.”

While addressing participants of the summit in Abuja on Wednesday, Prof Ubi noted that wheat has become a strategic cereal crop for food security in West and Central Africa due to the rapid rise in urbanization and the associated dietary preferences. 

In his words, “In the West and Central African region, Nigeria alone has a wheat demand of 5.78 million metric tons, with current wheat production at 160,000 metric tons annually, resulting in a huge deficit of ca. 5.62 million metric tons, representing a deficit of 92.2%, with over $3 billion spent on importing wheat in 2022. 

“It is of critical importance that West and Central Africa adopts a strategic inward looking approach of sustainable wheat production, especially as wheat can be weaponised as a tool in international politics, as we have seen in the recent global crisis.

“We can lead the charge and make the needful change as we are all working together for the common goal of wheat sector transformation, and not in competition.”

Prof Ubi, however, noted that the purpose of the summit is to enable the development of a sustainable strategy for wheat production, transformation and commercialization in West and Central Africa in line with Africa’s Commodities; Value Addition for Global Competitiveness.

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