The Nigerian Central Bank (CBN) has reaffirmed its commitment to resolving the country’s wheat production challenges and other value chain areas as part of efforts to improve local output and reduce reliance on imports.
Mr. Philip Yila Yusuf, Director of the CBN’s Development Finance Department, made the statement at the Wheat Conference and Stakeholder Engagement on Thursday.
Wheat value chain potential was highlighted by Yila, who noted that the apex bank would concentrate on the product in 2021/2022 planting season after sustainable development had been made in the rice and maize value chain.
“The CBN plans to address key problems in the value chain through financing massive production of wheat in Nigeria and seeks to facilitate sustained availability of high yield seed variety in-country and improve general productivity.”
More than $2 billion is spent each year on the importation of more than five million metric tonnes of wheat, according to him (MT).
Durum wheat accounted for N324.7 billion (4.7 percent) of total imports in the second quarter of this year. It was the second-most valuable import after motor spirit.
According to the director, just 63,000 metric tonnes (MT) of the five to six million metric tonnes (MT) of wheat used annually was produced locally. He went on to say that the CBN’s intervention was necessitated by strong demand and insufficient supply.
In spite of acknowledging the massive task ahead of the CBN, he reassured stakeholders of the bank’s willingness to work with other stakeholders in order to change the narrative.
Mohammed Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (represented by Abdullahi Garba), voiced his displeasure with the rising costs of wheat imports in his remarks. According to him, investing could help revers the downward trend.
Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, the governor of Kano State, also spoke and urged all parties to be open and transparent in their dealings. Deputy Governor Dr. Nasiru Gawuna gave the governor’s message of goodwill, which urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to move quickly with the release of funding for the sector.
He emphasised the importance of collaboration among value chain players in order to increase production and achieve self-sufficiency.