Insecurity: A Spanner in the Works of Local Wheat Production

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Monday, January 24, 2022 / 02:08 PM / by CSL Research / Header Image Credit: The Guardian Nigeria


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Amid the renewed interest in attaining self-sufficiency in wheat production in Nigeria, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently published a report on a survey conducted on wheat production across 13 Northern states in the country. Notably, the total wheat production was estimated from the product of yield per hectare and the total land area cultivated. From the estimates, wheat is cultivated in an area of about 11,820 hectares with a 3.13 yield per hectare, totalling wheat production at 36,943.8 metric tonnes. Out of the total wheat produced, Kano accounted for 17.6%, trailed by Jigawa (15.8%) and Kebbi (12.0%). Meanwhile, Borno (4.2%), Adamawa (3.7%) and Zamfara (1.8%) produced the least.

 

The Northern states are largely known for wheat farming. However, Boko Haram stealth attacks have undermined efforts to boost local production in recent years, as many wheat farmers have abandoned their farmlands and fled to other regions for safety. Even the survey conducted by the NBS showed they could not carry out tests in states such as Borno and Adamawa due to security reasons, making them resort to using figures of the neighbouring states as proxies. It is unfortunate to see that states such as Borno which alone in the past contributed 30% to the country's total output, according to the President of the Wheat Growers Association of Nigeria, now contribute significantly less.

 

According to the United States Department for Agriculture (USDA), 2022 will be another year of low wheat production. FAS forecasts Nigeria's wheat production in 2021/2022 to reach 55,000 metric tons (MT) compared with a consumption forecast of 5.8 million metric tons (MMT). Nigeria remains a net importer of wheat, though there exists a 5% tariff on wheat imports, plus an additional 15% levy for the national wheat development program. The Ministry of Agriculture has been making commitments to reduce wheat imports, but this does not appear feasible in the near term. Besides the current insecurity issues, the agriculture sector remains plagued with long-standing structural challenges which, if not ameliorated, would continue to result in low output levels.


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