Africa Worst Hit By Russia/Ukrainian War, Spends $20bn Annually on Wheat Importation, Says TAAT

Africa Worst Hit By Russia/Ukrainian War, Spends $20bn Annually on Wheat Importation, Says TAAT

Ahmad Sorondinki in Kano

The Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) yesterday, stated that African countries spend $20 billion annually on the importation of wheat which made the continent the worst hit by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Head of TAAT, Dr. Solomon Gizaw, disclosed this in Kano during a train the trainers’ workshop on wheat seed production in Nigeria.

According to him, African countries were currently paying the supreme price for the Ukraine- Russia war which has disrupted supply and led to high cost of wheat in Nigeria and Africa.

He said Nigeria has all it takes to produce and feed itself and the rest of African countries.

“The fight between Russia and Ukraine impacted the whole of Africa. You can imagine, two countries fighting elsewhere in Europe but the fight has caused a lot of supply disruption because we Africans are the major importers of wheat across the continent. “This means we don’t have food security as our food security is in the hands of the others.

“Africa around this time annually spends nearly $20 billion to import wheat from another part of the world. They import fertilizer and wheat from Ukraine and Russia and as a result, the war between the duo has disrupted the supply of wheat and also fertilizer.” he stated.

“This affects African countries’ wheat prices and supply. It has a lot of problems and challenges to provide food, bread for the poor, and other food because of the high price of fertilizer.

“Africa is hard-hit as a result of these two countries’ war. Africa has technology, land, water and people. If we come together and work together, Nigeria can feed itself and the rest of African countries.

“In Africa today, we have several high-yielding wheat varieties that are giving a high yield of six to seven tonnes per hectare. But today in Nigeria, the wheat production is not exceeding two to three per hectare. You can imagine.”

Speaking further, he said: “With one farmland, we can increase productivity by two to three folds. So the African Development Bank is working with the Nigerian government to expand wheat. And the government has committed to take this variety.”

The head of TAAT added, “If you produce the right quantity of seeds in Nigeria next year, all Nigerian wheat farmers can grow wheat and if you continue with this, in the next three, four or five years, Nigeria can completely reverse wheat importation which is now about 95 per cent.”

He further explained that Nigeria has all it takes to be self-sufficient.

“And our forecast in the potential of Nigeria shows Nigeria can produce, feed itself and the rest of Africa,” Gizaw added.

Earlier, TAAT Program Coordinator, Dr. Chrys Akem, lamented Nigeria’s poor wheat production.

He said three countries namely – Ethiopia, Sudan, and Nigeria –  had set out for sufficiency in wheat production but Nigeria instead of progressing had been retrogressing.

“We started a program 10 years ago called Support Agricultural Research for Development of Stability Crop in Africa, and wheat was one of the crops. There were three countries, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Sudan that were ready for the revolution,” he added.

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