Farmers ready 77,000 hectares of land to grow wheat during the dry season

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Farmers under the auspices of the Wheat Farmers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria said they have identified 77,000 hectares of farmland for dry season wheat cultivation.

The President of the Association, Wing Comdr Shuaibu Hamza (Rtd), stated this recently during a meeting of Commodity Association Presidents in Abuja.

He said that already, there are over 20,000 farmers who are on standby for the government to support in terms of inputs, finance, and security to begin cultivation this coming dry season.

“We as an association have identified about 77,000 hectares of land for wheat cultivation for the dry season. The bulk of this land is new; about 40,000 hectares of this land are in Niger State, and we have over 20,000 registered farmers on standby to cultivate.

“We are ready to move wheat production in this country forward. What we need from the government is the enabling environment, give farmers incentives, give farmers equipment, farm inputs, and security,” he said.

Hamza said Nigerian wheat production suffered a serious setback when farmers were convinced to abandon the country’s local varieties of wheat when the colonists arrived.

He said the farmers then failed to understand that the foreign variety of wheat might not adapt in Nigeria due to climate differences, but they went ahead and adopted the imported variety.

“When the colonialists came, they met us cultivating wheat. We had our own variety of wheat, but when they came, they said our wheat is not good for human consumption and they introduced their own variety.

“Their own variety adapted to their own weather, and their weather is different from our own weather. That is when we started to have a problem with wheat in this country.

He, however, said that current efforts by designated research institutes have developed four different varieties of wheat, which have been tried in many locations, and the results were satisfactory.

“Now we have woken up to a large extent. The National Institute for Wheat Research in Lake Chad has come up with four varieties of wheat: there are two varieties for rain-fed and two others for irrigation.

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