Worthwhile wheat farming caught between rice, higher seeds

Worthwhile wheat farming caught between rice, higher seeds

Between January and September 2022, Nigeria imported at the very least N753.6 billion price of wheat. The grain is broadly used for various merchandise throughout the nation; each by people and particularly industries resembling flour millers. Nonetheless, native manufacturing can barely meet 2-4 % of the nation’s demand.

The challenges of wheat manufacturing are various in Nigeria as specialists have highlighted through the years, however getting high-yielding, heat-tolerant varieties into the fingers of farmers has been a significant limitation.

“We’re far under by way of wheat,” mentioned Zachary Turaki, director, cereals analysis on the Lake Chard Analysis Institute. “2 % just isn’t sufficient to be snug, and we should inside the shortest time frame, take it to greater than 50 %.”

Turaki added that attaining this purpose would solely be attainable by way of the general public sector’s collaboration and partnership with the non-public sector.

In 2021, a N300 million 10-year challenge was launched to arrange group seed enterprises for Nigerian farmers to extend their manufacturing of wheat. This wheat worth chain challenge, in line with Olam Nigeria and its subsidiary Crown Flour Mill Restricted (CFM), which set it up, was to strengthen agricultural manufacturing in northern Nigeria’s wheat farming belt.

The challenge has been trialling new heat-tolerant forms of wheat and improved agronomic practices utilizing a participatory method that straight engages farmers. Its plans additionally embody participating at the very least 10 feminine farmers’ associations to turn out to be true drivers of change for his or her communities by coaching girls to steer community-based seed enterprises. These enterprises will produce and make obtainable excessive worth seed to farmers of their native communities.

Whereas it might not all the time promote higher than rice, particularly irrigated rice, wheat as market costs and demand present, stays a worthwhile possibility for farmers

When the first-year report for this ‘Seed for the Future’ initiative was introduced final 12 months, it confirmed progress, but in addition gave new insights into the psyche of farmers that wanted to be addressed in bridging the productiveness hole.

Whereas wheat has a transparent and enormous demand that additionally instructions cheap market costs, it was found that the desire for rice by farmers, means they solely commit the window between planting rice to wheat cultivation.

“Rice is the primary crop, and wheat mustn’t intrude with it,” mentioned Kachalla Kyari Mala, lead researcher on the challenge and a principal analysis officer on the Lake Chard analysis institute, whereas giving insights into the findings and farmers’ sentiments.

On the time of the survey, a ton of wheat bought for a median of N330,000, which could possibly be estimated to be 30 % greater than what paddy rice bought for. Whereas it might not all the time promote higher than rice, particularly irrigated rice, wheat as market costs and demand present, stays a worthwhile possibility for farmers.

It was said that surveyed farmers harvested rainfed rice between late October to early November, and irrigated rice is planted in early March to late April. This meant farmers can solely plant wheat between November and March; inside 90 to 100 days.

This additionally means two issues are required to make wheat cultivation extra engaging to farmers (if cash was not sufficient motivation); early maturing in addition to high-yielding varieties.

As Mala defined, a lot of the farmers have been already cultivating wheat in rotation with two seasons of rice; rainfed and irrigated. What remained was placing of their fingers, wheat seeds that may mature rapidly through the window they’ve historically planted, and at exceptionally good yields too.

It was additionally revealed that these farmers first must promote the harvests as an illustration, from their rainfed rice in October/November to get the funds to develop then wheat. The gross sales from rice harvests are hardly quick and even when accomplished, funds might not are available in quick sufficient for them to decide to wheat cultivation early sufficient. Mala had emphasised that wheat prevents well timed planting of irrigated rice, which is extra worthwhile than wheat. This reiterates the necessity for early maturing varieties to keep away from delays within the planting of rice.

“Any (wheat) selection that takes greater than 100 days, we can’t put it up for sale as a result of farmers don’t prefer it. And naturally, we would like it to yield greater than the Norman (selection),” mentioned Fillipo Bassi, senior scientist, Durum Wheat Breeder of the Worldwide Middle for Agricultural Analysis within the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

Bassi, who has made a reputation for himself within the subject, is a part of the challenge in Nigeria, and dealing with native groups to develop new and higher breeds. Ought to Nigerian farmers domesticate wheat, or persist with rice or maize? He asks, however the reply lies in how straightforward wheat cultivation is made, and the way worthwhile it’s in comparison with the opposite grains (particularly when the ‘stress’ of manufacturing is factored in).

“Seed is a enterprise and if it’s good seed, it’s a great enterprise,” mentioned Bassi, whereas emphasising the necessity for extra investments and collaboration in growing acceptable seeds for the Nigerian atmosphere.

To realize, as an illustration, 100,000 hectares of wheat manufacturing, Bassi explains this might require about one-tenth of that expanse from farmers keen to provide the seeds for the others to plant. The logistics to maneuver that quantity of seed wants would require greater than 250 vans, and to attain one million hectares or extra, the numbers can merely be multiplied. This, as he explains reveals the enterprise alternatives that exist if manufacturing of seeds to drive wheat cultivation in Nigeria is to be explored.

“For any nation, meals safety is a proper. Folks have the suitable to meals safety, bread (and different meals), and it’s important that we put in place issues like applied sciences to make them occur,” he mentioned. A primary step, as he and others have highlighted is nice, early maturing, high-yielding seeds for wheat.

Learn additionally: Fuel, wheat, ‘tokunbo’ vehicles top imports in 2022

Early maturing wheat varieties stay a recurring theme for farmers, particularly because the survey discovered, with most of them wanting so as to add wheat within the system fairly than changing rice, as an illustration.

Whereas Bassi mentioned to do that, farmers are much less involved with yield and far more involved with the truth that if the wheat season is just too lengthy, then they can’t plant rice well timed. If they don’t, then they lose yield on rice and turn out to be sad. But, the icing on this cake can be early maturing varieties that may additionally ship excessive yields, which might on one hand make farmers extra money, but in addition transfer Nigeria nearer to sufficiency in wheat manufacturing.

For Ashish Pande, nation head of Olam, with Nigeria importing shut to five.6 million metric tons of wheat, it’s vital to begin a journey in direction of the localization of wheat in Nigeria, which has been accomplished by way of the Seed for the Future initiative.

“The outcomes should not going to be one 12 months or two years sort of factor,” he mentioned, fairly would require constant inputs and collaboration throughout each the non-public and public sectors.

“I believe on the finish of ten years or so, we positively will see an amazing shift in Nigeria by way of wheat manufacturing,” he mentioned.

There have been quick plans to coach ten associations of rural feminine farmers, for a complete of about 100 girls and attain 100 tons of licensed seeds. If all goes in line with plan, ultimately, the purpose is to provide 100,000 tons of seeds from greater than 50,000 farmers.

When higher seeds can be found for farmers, and in addition presumably, entry to microcredit to incentivise them, it’s anticipated that with time, the roughly Nt trillion at the moment spent importing wheat into Nigeria can be slowly, and wholly retained domestically.

Read More

Read Previous

What CBN’s N22.7trn overdraft-to-debt means for economic system

Read Next

Kwara Govt Secures World Financial institution N887m Initiatives Fund

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.