Crown Flour Mill’s N300m Research Investment Develops Wheat Seeds for Nigeria’s Climate 

Dike Onwuamaeze

The Crown Flour Mill (CFM) Limited announced that its N300 million wheat value chain development project, “Seed for the Future” has achieved its target of producing 10 kilogram of pre-multiplication early maturing wheat seed varieties that are suitable for Nigeria’s unique local topography and climate.

The CFM, which is the wheat milling subsidiary of Olam Agri, would accelerate Nigeria’s quest to attain food security by addressing some of the major challenges in attaining self-sufficiency in wheat production.

It said that the 10 kilogram pre-multiplication wheat seed varieties would be planted next season in a 1,000 million squared plots at the Azumbu Farm Research Station in Jigawa State to reproduce larger quantities of the seed varieties as backup and for planting during the rainy season in August 2023.

This was announced on Friday during the third edition of the Olam Agri Greenland Webinar to unveil the impressive first-year report of its “Seeds for the Future” programme that was launched in 2021.

Speaking during the virtual event, the Country Head for Olam Agri Nigeria, Mr. Ashish Pande, said: “We have made quite an impressive stride on the “Seeds for the Future” programme going by the first-year report. It is a journey and we will continue to inject human, financial, and technical resources into the programme to ensure we meet our targets and derive the best results in the years ahead.

“There are challenges currently in the global food value chain. What this means is that we must look inward to ensure a consistent supply of food to feed our population by channeling investment into agriculture. At CFM and Olam Agri, we are committed to investing at the production level of the wheat value chain, in line with the federal government’s food security and agriculture development agenda.”

Also speaking during the unveiling of the report, the Project Scientist and Senior Scientist at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) Dr. Filippo Bassi, revealed that “the 10 kilogram pre-multiplication wheat seed varieties produced so far will be planted next season in 1,000m2 plots at the Azumbu farm research station in Jigawa.

“However, to ensure larger quantities of seeds as backup, a subset will be planted also during the rainy season in August.”

Another participant at the virtual event, the Principal Research Officer at the Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), Dr. Kachalla Kyari Mala, said that his team conducted a detailed survey into the agronomic practices of local smallholder farmers at the commencement of the project to understand the realities in the Nigerian wheat value chain.

The Director of Agricultural Research at LCRI, Dr. Zakari Turaki, stated that strong partnerships and collaborative efforts between public institutions and private firms are essential to raise the current level of the local wheat harvest in Nigeria.

Turaki added that the current partnership framework adopted for the execution of the “Seeds for the Future” programme is the best he has seen so far in the industry.

However, the Chairman of the Agricultural Colleges and Institutions Committee of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Munir Babba Dan Agundi, called for policy consistency in the industry as well as synergy among critical stakeholders.  

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