Flour millers to establish wheat procurement centres in 15 states

The Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN) said on Wednesday that it would establish procurement centres across 15 Northern states, to off-take all wheat grains from about 150,000 farmers under the CBN’s Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP).Dr Aliyu Samaila, FMAN’s National Programme Manager, Wheat Development Project, stated this at the Green wheat farmers’ field day at Gawon-Bature near Dambatta Local Government Area of Kano state.According to Samaila, the FMAN’s wheat programme was being implemented through the ABP of the Central Bank of Nigeria.He listed the states to include: Kano; Kaduna; Jigawa; Kebbi; Sokoto; Bauchi; Adamawa; Katsina; Gombe; Plateau; Taraba; Zamfara; Niger; and Yobe.”The programme adopted proactive farmer support services to sustainably encourage wheat production and yields per hectare, to enable it compete with rice and other dry season crops in the  2021-2022 dry season activities.”The programme had resulted in the cultivation of 504 demonstration farms on 0.5 ha each, across the 15 states, to provide training on Good Agronomic Practices (GAP) to 250,000 farmers under the CBN ABP,” he explained.Samaila further said plans were on to expand the scope of its direct out grower scheme, through the provision of input loans to 2,000 farmers in Kano; Jigawa; Sokoto; Kebbi; Kaduna; Bauchi; and Gombe states.The Programme Manager added that the programme would also expand seed production with six certified seed companies, including both dry and wet season seed production, to produce sufficient seeds for the 5,000 out growers next season.According to him, the programme was cultivating a 10-hectare research farm in Jigawa, for testing new seed varieties and for improved agronomic practices.Samaila added that the project was being implemented, in collaboration with the Lake Chad Research Institute and the International Centre for Agricultural Research and Development (ICARDA).He also said that FMAN provided grant funding to the National Agricultural Seeds Council, to expand their capabilities on testing seed quality, certifying seed production and training farmers to differentiate between high-quality seeds, from others in the market.He said that the country required a strong vision backed by clear roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders.The FMAN official added that the association would organise state-wide field days in all their major areas of operation, to bring together key stakeholders in order to address challenges and learn from each other.“We would also organise wheat farmers’ Yield Championship at the end of the season, to recognise the highest performing farmer.“We are looking forward to partner with organisations across the value chain to improve farmer yields through high-quality seeds, expanded extension services, and improved access to irrigation,” he said.In his remarks, the Deputy governor of Kano State, Alhaji Nasiru Gawuna, who lauded the initiative, said that it would boost wheat cultivation in the area.Gawuna, also the state Commissioner for Agriculture, represented by Abdulkarim Sani, Director Agricultural Services, said the state government had introduced programmes to support wheat farmers in the state.Also, Alhaji Salim Muhammad, National President, Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria, commended FMAN and the CBN for the wheat farmers’ support programme.Muhammad also reminded wheat farmers to repay the loan as stipulated in the preconditions for ABP loans, adding that loan repayment should be timely, to enable others to benefit from the scheme.

Some of the farmers who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) praised the Federal Government and FMAN for the `unprecedented’ attention given to the sector.

They also commended the CBN and other coordinating banks for their efforts at addressing the challenges facing the farmers.

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