Wheat farming and production, just like other ventures, must make economic sense for all parties involved. Farmers will only expand wheat production when they are assured of getting a fair price for their output. Similarly millers will only buy local wheat if it meets the baking qualities, is of sufficient quantities and fairly priced.
In a move that could significantly change wheat production in Nigeria and set an example for other African countries, Nigeria’s wheat farmers and the millers association have agreed on the wheat price for the upcoming season of 2016. Foundations for this landmark achievement started three years ago following the successful introduction of high yielding and heat tolerant wheat varieties to Nigeria through the SARDSC Wheat project. Despite the prevailing high temperatures in the Nigerian lowlands, the new wheat varieties are superbly high yielders, producing 4-6 t/ha with desirable industrial milling and baking qualities. “Before the intervention of SARD-SC Wheat project in Nigeria, there was little or no market for local wheat since the millers considered local grain to be of poor quality and wheat prices varied greatly during harvest and later in the season and neither the farmers nor millers were comfortable with this variation,” explains Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji, from the SARD-SC Wheat team in Nigeria and the Executive Director, Lake Chad Research Institute, LCRI. Through the Innovation Platform approach, the project involved all the actors in the wheat value chain in the country, including the millers association, in efforts to boost wheat production, variety selection, testing and wheat policy discussions. This resulted to the recent price agreement, and with the set price of 14,000 Naira per 100 kilogram bag, wheat farmers will plant their crops knowing exactly how much it could potentially earn them. The agreement was signed on the 14th of June 2016 by the chairpersons of the Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria and the Flour Millers Association. Wheat grains will be delivered through two collection centres in Kebbi and Kano States. The guaranteed minimum price and market is a major incentive to farmers.