In a bid to boost wheat production in Nigeria, leading agribusiness conglomerate and parent company of Crown Flour Mill Limited (CFM), Olam, has launched a N300 million ($750,000) 10-year community-based seed enterprises project, to boost Nigeria’s wheat production capabilities.
Speaking at a recently held virtual event, the Managing Director, CFM, Ashish Pande, said Olam has been encouraging innovation in the agriculture sector on a large scale.
According to him, the event themed “Rethinking Wheat Farming in Nigeria – Seeds, Research, Partnerships,” was part of Olam’s Green Land Webinar Series, positioned to bring together key stakeholders to proffer suitable, actionable and measurable solutions to the national wheat production challenges and self-sufficiency aspirations.
He said, “We focus on charting novel, innovative paths that tick all the boxes in terms of providing suitable seed varieties, developing refined management processes and implementing trendy agronomic practices in the local wheat value chain.
“This is in addition to working with and training smallholder wheat farmers while committing the right financial resources into the value chain developmental agenda.
“Bridging the huge wheat production gap in the country is a journey. This stakeholder engagement is a step in the right direction. The deep investment we are making into developing suitable seed varieties for the Nigerian topography and utilising a community-based seed enterprise will manifest in outright development of the wheat farming sector in years to come.”
Stating further, he said the initiative has also impacted the agenda of the Federal Government in terms of employment generation, attainment of self-sufficiency in food production and food security within a couple of decades.
Remarking, former Manager of the Agricultural Value Chain Programme in Oromia, Ethiopia and a wheat expert, Tiberio Chiari, highlighted the advantage of working with smallholder farmer cooperatives in developing the wheat value chain.
Citing Ethiopia as a case study, Chiari said, “There is an economy of scale in dealing with farmers’ cooperatives instead of working with individual farmers, and stakeholders have a key role in ensuring the effective management of the process for optimum impact.”
Chiari noted that quality control, suitable seed varieties, good management processes, high smallholder farmer engagement, rigorous grain bulking facilities, and the availability of investment funds are part of key success factors when running a community-based seed enterprise methodology.
Speaking on factors responsible for the low productivity in the wheat value chain in Nigeria, the Principal Research Officer, Lake Chad Research Institute, Maiduguri, Borno State, Dr Kachalla Kyari Mala, said farmers low level of familiarity with the best agronomic practices was the major factor responsible for their low productivity.
“Engaging farmers right at the conception stages of a major seed development methodology up to the harvest stages will help them become conversant with the best management and agronomic practices,” Mala stated.
The post Olam Launches N300m 10-year Seed Project to Boost Nigeria’s Wheat Production first appeared on AgroNigeria.
The post Olam Launches N300m 10-year Seed Project to Boost Nigeria’s Wheat Production appeared first on AgroNigeria.