Pedro Ukokobili, discusses how Edo State can generate as much as $400million annually from wheat plantation
Nigeria’s rising population, presently put at 200m puts increased pressure on its demand for staples like maize, rice, wheat, millet and cowpea. Of the various grain types consumed in the country, the consumption pattern in 2012 showed that about 9 million metric tonnes (MMT) of maize, 6MMT sorghum, 8MMT millet and 4MMT wheat found their place for either domestic or industrial use.
There are two varieties of rain fed wheat for planting discovered by the Lake Chad Chief researcher namely Atilla Gan Atilla and Norman Borlaug (India Wheat), reputed to give a yield of an average of 4-5tons per hectare have already been distributed to the farmers as the target of halving import by 2017 remains in the front burner. This is a result of the intervention of the Federal Government in the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).”
Edo is an inland state in southern Nigeria. Its capital is Benin City. It is bound in the north and east by Kogi State, in the south by Delta State and in the west by Ondo State. Edo State consists of eighteen (18) Local Government Areas. They are: Akoko-Edo, Egor, Esan Central, Esan North-East, Esan South-East, Esan West, Etsako Central, Etsako East, Etsako West, Igueben, Ikpoba-Okha, Oredo, Orhionmwon, Ovia North-East, Ovia South-West, Owan East, Owan West and Uhunmwonde. Edo state needs 200,000 hectares of arable land to be able to produce a Million metric tonnes of wheat flour. Edo state can partner 10 local governments to provide 20,000 hectares of land each in order to meet 200,000 hectares of arable land that can produce a Million Metric Tonnes of wheat flour. Among the local government suitable for wheat flour plantation are Akoko-Edo, Egor, Ikpoba-Okha, Oredo, Orhionmwon, Ovia North-East, Ovia South-West, Owan East, Owan West and Uhunmwonde. The said agro based economy programme will be able to generate $400 Million Dollar annually for Edo state government if 200,000 hectares of arable land is provided in partnership with the ten Local Government Areas.
Recognizing the rapidly growing demand of wheat in Nigeria, linked to population increase and income growth as a result of rapid urbanization trend which has led to a huge gap between the national demand (estimated at 4 million metric tones annually) and its percent self sufficiency (currently estimated at a meager 2%) and the huge drain on Nigeria’s foreign exchange resulting from expenditure on importation of wheat flour, estimated at about USD $ 4.0 billion/annually. Edo state can pursue an agro based economy programme that would enable her to be self independent of federal allocation, reduce the country’s dependence on imported wheat flour and increase internal generated revenue of the state. There is an urgent need for Edo State to transit from dependence on federal allocation to self independent state through an agro based economy programme. This noble prograamme is achievable through collaboration with FIIRO, LCRI and AFDB. This is the time to move from a single source of revenue generation to multi source of revenue generation.
- Ukokobili is a research analyst. Email: email@example.com, 08067621115