We buy all local wheat – Flour millers

The Flour Milling Association of Nigeria, on Wednesday, said its members are now buying all the wheat produced in Nigeria.

It said this has provided a guaranteed market for wheat farmers across the country.

FMAN stated that the association had invested about N200m to support the production of quality grains in Nigeria, and called on the Federal Government to provide some vital infrastructure

The Executive Secretary, FMAN, Olalekan Saliu, disclosed this at the unveiling of some laboratory equipment donated to the Nigeria Agricultural Seeds Council by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and Flour Milling Association of Nigeria, led by Flour Mill Nigeria Limited, among others, in Abuja.

He said, “We started getting involved in the development of Nigeria’s wheat value chain since 2016 when we signed an irrevocable undertaking with Nigerian wheat farmers that we will off-take all the wheat grains which they produce in Nigeria that meet certain criteria.

“We have been doing that without disappointing the farmers and they are very happy with us, because they have a guaranteed market. But without having other ancillary services and support, you can’t produce wheat.

“Two things are very important for wheat development in Nigeria; you must have sufficient irrigated land, and this is where the government comes in. The private sector has little role to play here. Yes, we have a role to play, but the main infrastructure is to provide irrigation and dams.”

Saliu said the government should revive all the dams that were not functional across the country.

He said, “We can give and have given water pumps to farmers in hundreds. That is the little we can do. We cannot provide the main infrastructure, which includes irrigation and dams.

“The next thing is the sufficiency of quality seeds. Do you have that available in Nigeria? That’s a key issue to be addressed if we really want to develop wheat in Nigeria. Do we have the right, heat-resistant variety? If you don’t have this, you are wasting your time.”

He said the flour milling association engaged seven top seed companies during the last wet season to grow seeds for FMAN.

According to him, “The government cannot do it alone; the private sector has to come in. If you don’t have top-quality seeds insufficiency, you can’t make headway. That is where this laboratory comes in. We have spent up to N200m in developing this over the past three years.”

The acting Director-General, NASC, Ishiak Khalid, said the flour millers had continuously supported the council to ensure the availability of quality planting materials for food and industrial purposes, especially around the wheat value chain.

“They have been supporting the NASC to ensure the availability of high-quality certified seeds for its wheat out growers,” Saliu stated.

He added, “The NASC signed an MoU with FMAN spanning over three years. This MoU is geared towards supporting the wheat value chain, to ensure the availability of high-quality certified seeds for its wheat out-growers.

“On inception of this collaboration, and as a component of this MOU, the NASC was supported with three brand new Toyota Hilux vehicles for its operations, which was the first of this kind for NASC.”