By Business A.M.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has projected a 42 per cent increase in Nigeria’s wheat production in the 2023-24 marketing year.
The significant increase in the output is attributed to a memorandum of understanding signed by the Flour Millers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) to purchase wheat at a competitive price. USDA also observed that the FMAN-guaranteed price and a ready market for wheat from the FMAN MOU has motivated farmers to plant more.
According to USDA, severe repercussions from the ongoing Russia- Ukraine war which distracted imports from the Black Sea region prompted the Nigerian government to increase domestic wheat production amid high global wheat prices.
The report noted that Nigeria previously relied on imports for more than 95 per cent of its wheat supply. However, USDA noted that the area harvested is projected to increase by 30 per cent to 130,000 hectares and production is expected to rise to 156,000 tonnes from 110,000 tonnes.
In addition, it pointed out that FMAN aims to engage six certified seed companies to produce sufficient improved wheat seeds to plant 10,000 hectares (ha) in both the dry and wet seasons in the 2023/24 marketing year.
Despite the projected production increase, USDA predicts that Nigeria’s wheat consumption in MY 2023/24 will reduce by six percent from the MY 2022/23 due to deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, and high cost of production leading to high prices of wheat-based commodities.
Meanwhile, to reduce overhead costs and control rising bread prices,the report noted that Nigerian bakers are increasingly using composite blends and increasing alternative flour such as rice, cassava, and sorghum percentages from 10 per cent to about 20 – 30 percent to boost flour production.