As almost every production sector of the economy is pursuing backward integration, the wheat sub sector seems to have joined the bandwagons.
The group, Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN), comprising Dangote Flour Mills, Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN), Honeywell Flour, Dufil, and Life Flour, has donated 50 units of multi-crop thresher machine worth N70 million to wheat farmers in the country so as to deepen the country’s self-sufficiency in wheat production.
In his remarks while making the presentation in Lagos, the Group Managing Director of Dangote Flour Mills, Mr. Thabo Mabe, said the equipment would deepen mechanised farming in wheat production; increase volume of wheat produced and reduce cost of wheat in the market.
Whereas he lamented that 70 per cent of wheat used by flour millers is imported despite the huge potential of the country’s wheat sector, he expressed hope that the multi-crop threshers would enhance yield, empower more farmers and save foreign exchange.
According to him, “The important thing on our engagement is to try to assist Nigeria start developing wheat farming in large quantity and to ensure sustainability in terms of wheat farming”.
Earlier in his address, Chairman of FMAN, Mr. John Coumantaros, represented by Group Managing Director, FMN Plc, Mr. Paul Gbededo, said the presentation was a demonstration of the association’s commitment to continuously support wheat farmers and Federal Government’s agriculture promotion agenda.
Coumantaros noted that “There is no gainsaying that self-sufficiency in wheat production in Nigeria will have an unprecedented impact on the Nigerian economy through attainment of food security, poverty reduction and of course save the much needed foreign exchange”.
The chairman added that FMAN had sealed an MoU with Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) in 2016 to purchase all available wheat grain produced by farmers in line with agreed quality parameters and prevailing market prices.
He revealed that “In 2017, FMAN fulfilled its promise by purchasing over 2,400 metric tonnes of wheat valued at N469 million and in 2018. Even before the start of harvest, we have purchased over 1600 metric tonnes of wheat valued at N237 million.
Business Hilights notes that whereas the Nigeria has successfully achieved backward integration in cement without really achieving a corresponding drop in cement prices, backward integration is currently targeted at other goods including sugar, rice and other products.