The Federal Government has called on the private sector to invest in wheat production to bridge the huge supply gap and curb imports.
Last year, Nigeria was ranked among the top 15 importers of wheat as it imported about 6.5 million metric tonnes valued at about $2.06 billion.
While the Federal Government has been canvassing the need to ‘grow what we eat to save foreign exchange (FX), the end to overreliance on importation is still not in sight.
However, the National Agriculture Land Development Authority (NALDA) is taking the bull by the horn by flagging off dry season wheat production in all the nine wheat-producing states. It is also calling for private sector investment in crop production.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Paul Ikonne, during the flag-off of the dry season farming in Gombe state, said: “I use this opportunity to call on investors to begin to invest in wheat production as NALDA will be positioning itself in providing water infrastructure in assisting in irrigation system as we go into massive wheat production in the country”, he said.
Ikonne disclosed plans to engage 400 youths in wheat production in the state as part of efforts to reduce unemployment in the state.
He said: “We are here in Gombe State based on the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated NALDA to achieve food security and to have job opportunities for our teeming youths through viable agricultural value chains.
“And now we will be encouraging farmers to go into wheat production to begin to earn a living income from wheat production, and that will help us reduce the volume we import and begin to consume what we produce on the mandate and directives of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.