In furtherance of its commitment to continue to support the Federal Government’s Agriculture Promotion Policy and the vision of achieving self-sufficiency in the production of wheat in Nigeria, the Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN) has announced the donation of 50 units of Amar Multi-crop threshers to the Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN). Speaking at a handover ceremony held at Northern Nigeria Flour Mills (NNFM), in Kano, recently, Alhaji Sani Umar, a representative of FMAN, disclosed that the beneficiaries are Wheat farmers who are spread across several wheat-growing states in the North, in line with an allocation formula agreed with the leaders of Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN).
With the growing popularity of wheat and wheat-based products in Nigeria, FMAN as a key stakeholder has continued to support the development of the wheat value chain in Nigeria. It will be recalled that between the 2016/17 and 2017/18 planting seasons, FMAN supported Wheat farmers in Nigeria with the distribution of over 3,000 bags of Norman and Attila good yielding variety seeds and have also donated over 2,500 units of 3-inch water pumps to the farmers. This is in addition to several other laudable initiatives that have been introduced over the years, including the establishment of a N20 million Research and Development Grant to the Lake Chad Research Institute in 2016; to conduct pre-season training and workshops for Wheat farmers, who were also exposed to useful knowledge, and skills into enhanced wheat farming technologies, proper storage techniques and other modern agronomy practices aimed at not just improving wheat verities with good yield, but reducing post-harvest losses.
In the same vein, FMAN signed an MoU with the WFAN in June 2016, at Abuja, FCT to purchase all available wheat grains produced by Nigerian Wheat Farmers in line with agreed quality parameters, and prevailing market prices. This promise, which has been kept to date, provides the farmers with the comfort and confidence that all wheat grains that are produced in line with the agreed parameters will enjoy the off-take agreement.
The introduction of the threshers becomes even more important when weighed against the impact that it will have in the cultivation of the crop in Nigeria. Currently, a lot of the wheat farmers still perform manual harvesting, where farmers beat out the grains from the stalk with their bare hands. Expectedly, the threshers will not just encourage mechanized farming, but reduce post-harvest losses, and significantly improve the yield of wheat per hectare and significantly reduce production costs.
According to Alhaji Salim Muhammad, President of WFAN, who was pleased with the gesture from FMAN, Wheat farmers are very optimistic that with the right type of support, equipment and incentives, wheat production will continue to improve and should reach 400 metric tons by the end of 2019. Speaking further he said:
“This is another step forward for the collaboration between WFAN & FMAN with the donation of another set of 50 units of threshers to support wheat farming especially with the lingering issues that have been bedevilling farmers at harvest. The Threshers will not only reduce harvest losses but will also increase the quality and quantity, as well as reduce the cost of production. It is also a step in the right direction because, without this understanding, the marketability of wheat products will not be guaranteed. FMAN are our guaranteed primary off-taker and they have kept to the MoU agreement for almost three years now, without any default.”
It is important to note that FMAN has remained resolute with their commitment to partner with WFAN and other key stakeholders in their bid to strengthen and improve the local supply chain, while ensuring that Nigerians can gain access to locally grown wheat at decent prices that ensure that the downstream segments of the value chain like bakeries are not unduly burdened.