By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria
In its effort to enhance wheat production and food security in Nigeria, the Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI) has mapped-out 250 hectares of wheat farms in Zaria for the production of wheat seeds.
Dr Alhassan Bibinu, Acting Executive Director of the institute made this known during the 2020/2021 National Pre-season Training Workshop on Irrigated Wheat Production in Zaria.
Bibinu, represented by Dr Zakari Turaki, Head of Cereals Research Department of the Institute said LCRI has supported the farmers with over 91 hectares for wheat production and the farmers accepted and produced the seeds during the last farming season.
He said the wheat produced from the farms was stored in the institutes’ ware house in Jos, unfortunately, the seeds produced were looted during the EndSARS protest.
“This year we are coming with 250 bags of seeds for 250 hectares instead of 91 hectares that was vandalised from what was produced last year, I think this is a good recovery,’’ he said.
According to him, the institute in collaboration with the Kaduna State Government’ will support farmers with improved seeds, fertiliser, water pumps, herbicides and insecticides.
He added that the institute has a strong collaboration with Flour Mills of Nigeria to strengthen wheat seed production in the country.
He said the institute has mandate for genetic improvement of wheat, and it was determine to promote their mandate crops.
Turaki said the institute has released six new irrigated varieties of wheat which can be grown during hamattan period and two different new two new rain-fed varieties of the commodity.
He added that from 2015 to date, the institute has attain its target of 350 hectares of wheat farms adding that another transformational impact was the production a lot wheat seeds in the last farming season.
He noted that wheat is one of the major crops that drains Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange; Nigerians who buy wheat abroad are enriching farmers in other countries when Nigerian farmers can grow it (wheat).
He therefore, appealed for more support to strengthen wheat production in the country to enhance the food security in Nigeria.
In his remarks, President of Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Salim-Saleh Mohammed lamented that the major challenge of wheat production in Nigeria was from the seed sector.
He described vandalisation of wheat seeds in Jos as deliberate attempt to discourage wheat production in the country.
The President therefore, renewed his appeal for more interventions and support from government to wheat farmers similar to support received by rice and maize farmers in Nigeria.
Similarly, Malam Yusuf Khalid, Director Irrigation Services, Kaduna State Ministry of Agriculture who represented the Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture Dr. Halima Lawal urged the participants to distill the knowledge to other farmers who were not at the workshop.