Ahaji Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Monday, said the Federal Government is committed to sound policies and programmes to transform agriculture and achieve food security.
Nanono stated this during the National Wheat Farmers Field Day at Jekarade plantation in Danbatta Local Government Area of Kano state on Monday.
The minister disclosed that the Federal Government has so far trained workers to enhance extension services, and urged state Governments to engage them to provide quality services to farmers.
He urged state Governments to encourage development of small-scale wheat processing mills to enhance availability of the product.
Nanono explained that the National Wheat Farmers Field Day is aimed at encouraging production of wheat crops and processing to reduce importation of the produce into the country.
The state Deputy Governor, Nasiru Gawuna, said the State Government has concluded plans to establish additional water bodies and upgrade existing dams to encourage wheat cultivation and irrigation activities.
While reiterating Government’s commitment to support farmers, Gawuna urged them to utilise the inputs to improve their productivity.
Earlier, the Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN) said it had distributed seeds and inputs to 800 out grower farmers to encourage wheat cultivation in the country.
Mrs Sarah Huber, Head of FMAN Wheat Development Programme, disclosed this in her remarks at the occasion, saying that farmers were provided with improved variety of seeds, fertilisers, chemicals and 50 threshers under a soft loan scheme designed to enhance farmers’ access to inputs and extension services.
She said the benefitting farmers were selected from Kano, Kebbi and Jigawa states, adding that wheat farming service centres are designated in 15 Local Government Areas in the participating states.
Huber noted that 200 farmers were supported in Danbatta, Garun Malam, Bunkure, Kiru and Ajingi Local Government Areas of Kano State.
According to her, the scope of the programme will be expanded to mobilise participation in collaboration with Oxfam, Babban Gona and agricultural research institutes in the country.
“Transforming wheat production in Nigeria requires strong will, backed by clear roles and responsibilities from all stakeholders, sound data and evidence.
“We look forward to partnering with organisations across the value chain to improve farmers’ yields through high quality seeds, expanded extension services and improved access to irrigation,” she said.
Also speaking, Mr Datti Danjuma, the Project Manager, Olam Crown Flour Mills, said the company, as a member of FMAN, is committed to improving wheat production through adequate financing and research projects.
Danjuma said the company has introduced Durum wheat variety and engaged the services of a renowned seed scientists to accelerate wheat production in the country.
“We wish to get new technologies in Nigeria to further build on the wheat initiative,” he said.
Some of the farmers, Rabiu Sale and Danladi Ibrahim, said they recorded high yields at harvest during the past season due to the support they received from FMAN.