The National President of Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WEFAN), Alhaji Salim Muhammadu has said that their farmers have been unable to move to their farms due to the lockdown imposed by various state governments due to outbreak of COVID-19.
This is just as he said that the government over the years has neglected the wheat farmers in the country despite high demand of wheat in the country.
Alhaji Muhammad made this known during Webinar interview with Guild of Nigeria Agriculture Journalists (GNAJ).
“This COVID-19 has a devastating effect on all the crops generally, especially we the wheat farmers, because this is our harvesting period, we have harvest wheat in the ranges of April to May, and the COVID-19 has attacked this country as a pandemic which our farmers cannot be able to move from one location to another, from one farm to another to harvest the crop, this is a major challenge we are having now”, he said.
He said some machines needed to process wheat for off take were unable to reach their locations due to lockdown.
“We have to deploy our threshing machines, we have to go to the warehouses where the off take can be made, and we have to move the commodity to the warehouse where.
“So, if you look at the scenario, if you say you are bringing in wheat produced in Kebbi to Kano at this pandemic period, it is not going to be possible”, he added.
On wheat production in the country, Alhaji Muhammed said “there is high demand of wheat in Nigeria, there is a high consumption of wheat in this country, every household in this country consume bread, noodles and all these pastas, but what is the country doing to produce enough wheat for the consumption locally in the country.
“We in the Association know how much we are trying to drive the sector, but up till now, we have not seen the light of the day.
“In my understanding, maybe the government is only interested in promoting rice production in Nigeria as the only commodity that they feel can feed the nation.
“While if you look at the rate of consumption per capita, we consume wheat greater than we consume rice in this country but there is no much attention into the wheat sub sector, and we have over 650,000 hectares that we can cultivate wheat in the dry season”.
On the way forward, he said there is need to create a sustainable synergy between policy makers and stakeholders in in the sector so that the needs of the country could be identified.
“We have to create a strong and sustainable synergy between the policy makers and the key actors, by this, we can come to understand what our country need in terms of agriculture production, and we have to remember that we have some comparative advantages across the various sectors that we have in this country, so we have to look at these issues critically, look at the comparative advantages and look at what the country needs for it’s own daily consumption and device the means that will make sure we keep up the production of these viable commodities that our country are looking for that we can eat what we produce.
“There has to be a strategic policy formulation that is crop based at least for a period of 5 to 10 years development plan”, he noted.
Source: Nigerian Tribune
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