Flour millers invest N470m on locally grown wheat
by ADEOLA AJAKAIYE, Kano
November 10, 2017 | 2:56 pm| | | Start Conversation
The Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN) has invested over N450 million in the purchase of wheat grown by farmers across country in the last planting season, as part of its commitment to deepening the local cultivation of the commodity in the country.
The association has also presented 2000 units of plant-able seeds in 50kg bags for distribution to farmers in the wheat producing states of Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Bauchi, and Kebbi.
The donated seeds was a follow –up to similar presentation of 2,500 units of 3-inch water pumps and 2,500 units of 50kg of seeds worth over N150 million given to the farmers last year.
John G. Coumantaros, chairman of the association disclosed that the seeds donated were part of the first stage of the Association`s two –phase support programme to the wheat farmers.
Presiding over the presentation at the premises of the Northern Nigeria Flour Mills Plc in Kano, Coumantaros stated that under the phase 2 of the support programme, the association has placed firm overseas for some multi-crop threshers which will be distributed to farmers sometimes in February, next year.
Giving further details of the donation to the farmers, Yunus Olalakan Salihu, executive director of FMAN, who stood in for Coumantaros, said that the association had made a purchase of wheats worth N470 million from the farmers in last planting season.
He explained that the donation of planting seeds, as well as the purchase of the harvested wheats from the farmers was in fulfillment of agreement signed between the association and the wheat farmers in June 2016 at Abuja.
The chairman noted that the association in the same vein gave a research and development grant of N20 million to the Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI) in September, 2016, to enable the Institute conduct research into improved wheat farming, wheat technology, and modern agronomy practices.
“FMAN believes that its actions would strengthen and improve the collaboration and co-operation between wheat farmers and flour millers to attain a common goal-accelerated wheat production in Nigeria in total alignment with Government policy to achieve food sufficiency and security, create jobs and reduce dependence on importation and save foreign exchange.
“We see our role as complimentary to Government policies and measures particularly the Central Bank of Nigeria`s Anchor Borrower programme (ABP), which is aimed at transforming how the financing of small holder agriculture is addressed” he noted.
Coumantaros acknowledged what was described as wonderful commitment of the governors of Kano, Kebbi, Jigawa, and the former executive secretary of the Lake Chad Research Institute, in strengthening the cultivation and the development of wheat across the value chain in the country.
In his address earlier, Salim Sale Mohammed, President, Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN), described the several donations as a major milestone in the relationship between the farmers and Flour Millers.
Mohammed revealed that members of his association currently have cultivated over 250,000 hectares of wheat across the commodity growing belt in the northern part of the country.
He attributed the achievement recorded by the farmers involved in the wheat production programme to support given to the programme by the President Buhari led administration in the country, as well as Flour Millers.
Highlighting some of the challenges being confronted by the wheat farmers, the president of WFAN said it included: lack of quality and certified seeds, which could be attributed to poor funding of National Seed Council of Nigeria by the Federal Government.
He appealed to the Federal Government to improve it funding to research institutes to enable them develop quality seed which would go a long way in boosting the capability of the farmers to grow more wheat.
The major feature of the event was the presentation of the bags of seeds to chairman of WFAN drawn from the wheat growing zones of the country for onward distribution free of charge to the benefitting wheat farmers.
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