The Flour Mills of Nigeria has cultivated 75 hectares of wheat farms in Jigawa and Kano states to enhance wheat seeds multiplication in the country.
Mr Victor Oritedi, the Head of Contract Farming and Extension Services in the company, made this known after inspecting two of the farms in Dabi and Yandutse communities in Ringim Local Government Area of Jigawa.
Oritedi said that the company had provided farmers with certified and high quality wheat seeds and fertilisers.
He said that the initiative was to address the challenges facing wheat farmers in their efforts to acquire quality wheat seeds in the country.
“We are happy to be part of this initiative and our driving force is to see how we can develop the integration of the commodity which we use. The largest commodity we use presently in Nigeria is wheat.
“There are so many challenges surrounding wheat production in Nigeria; so, we have decided to support the initiative by tackling the problem from the root through wheat cultivation for seeds.
“What we noticed is that even if you want to grow wheat in Nigeria, you don’t have enough seeds to engage in the project,” he said.
Oritedi said that the firm decided to partner with local farmers who understood seed production processes, while supporting them with seeds and fertilisers which they required to cultivate the 75 hectares of wheat farms successfully.
“We also gave the farmers agronomic support and extension services support.
“So, looking at what we have today, we are happy with the outcome and this is an initiative we hope to sustain because this is a pilot programme of wheat seed multiplication in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Oritedi, however, announced plans of the company to scale up the project in 2019, adding that “this will depend on the outcome of the pilot project in Kano and Jigawa states’’.
Meanwhile, farmers, who are participating in the pilot programme, have urged the firm to ensure the prompt uptake of the seeds so as to enable them use the proceeds for rice production.
Oritedi assured the farmers of the readiness of the company to uptake the seeds on time.
“I assure the farmers of quick returns on their investment because our major competence is that we have the capacity to uptake whatever quantity of wheat the farmers are able to grow.
“So, as long as they remain part of our programme and the wheat seeds meet our specifications, we are definitely going to uptake the seeds.
“This is why we are part of the initiative from beginning to the end,” Oritedi added.
Alhaji Salim Muhammad, the National President, Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN), commended the company for embarking on the initiative.
He said that the project would go a long way to address the challenges which farmers were facing with regard to seeds availability.
Also, Alhaji Abdullahi Hussani, the Chairman of WFAN in Jigawa, said that the project would strengthen efforts to tackle the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inadequacy of wheat seeds facing farmers across the country.