Nigeria spends $10 million daily on importation of wheat into the country, just as 90 percent of the total wheat consumed in the country is imported, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, of Kaduna state has said.
Addressing the flag-off of a 3-day 2016 pre-season training workshop for 6,000 youths on wheat production, processing and utilization organised by the Lake Chad Research Institution Maiduguri in conjunction with Kaduna state government, aimed at reversing the trend, el-Rufai said the training will engage the youth and take them away from crimes and violence, noting that Kaduna state is currently facing insecurity in the Godogodo chiefdom.
El-Rufai, while calling on the youths to embrace agriculture, said his administration will provide the trainees with land, seedlings, pesticides, inputs, fertilizers and chemicals, adding that agriculture is the major asset of the North and Kaduna state having been the number one in maize, soya bean, ginger and number two in tomato and sugar cane, has the capacity to excel further in wheat production.
The Governor noted that Kaduna had engaged 25,000 unemployed youth in tree planting, while thousands were engaged in the state’s school feeding programme, as one of the steps to reduce unemployment.
El-Rufai said: “We must go back to agriculture for us to feed ourselves and also feed the nation. Our youths must embrace agriculture. Any obstacle you face we will remove it for you to achieve greatness in agriculture. We have the capacity to feed the nation. We have the land and capacity to excel in agriculture.
“We will provide you with land. I’m happy that we have women involved in this programme because we want more women in agriculture training on wheat farming and production. Work hard to excel because if you excel others will join you.
The Executive Director, Lake Chad Research Institute, Dr. Oluwasina Gbenga Olabanji, said the most critical challenge for Nigeria today remains the encouragement of domestic production.
He advised that, everyone has to contribute in order to fast track achieving self-sufficiency through domestic production.