By Usman Usman Garba
Kano State governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has said that the presence of President Muhammad Buhari at the flag-off of this year’s wheat planting exercise will encourage and increase production of the cereal by the farmers.
The governor made the statement at the National Wheat Stakeholders Workshop held at Tahir Guest Palace, Kano, recently.
Represented by his deputy, Alhaji Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, Ganduje stated that the President’s presence at the flag-off of the wheat planting exercise in Kano will spur the farmers to repeat success achieved following the launching of rice planting in Kebbi State.
“…We therefore extend our invitation to President Muhammadu Buhari to the flag-off of this year’s wheat planting exercise in Kano,” Ganduje said.
The governor also highlighted that the way the Federal Government is spending over $4 billion for the importation of wheat, the money is enough to complement the commitment and zeal shown by the farmers when converted to support the production of wheat locally across the country.
He also maintained that the production of wheat would provide job opportunities and food security in the state, noting that the state government has provided 64,000 hectares of land for the successful implementation of the programme.
“Kano is prepared…We have arable land and technology. Even the farmers are ready. Therefore, I hereby call all stakeholders to join hands with the state government in making this dream a reality,” he said.
He additionally commended President Buhari’s administration for its laudable policies and programmes aimed towards developing agriculture in the country.
In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, represented by a director in the ministry, Hajiya Karima Babangida, said the essence of the gathering is to have a synergy with various stakeholders with a view to improving the production of wheat in the country.
The minister explained that the country is blessed with vast agricultural land that would drive its economy forward, adding that the ministry, in its effort to improve wheat farming, has provided seeds to farmers and entrepreneurs free in order to achieve the set goals.
He similarly encouraged all the wheat farmers to work as a national team for moving the country forwards, ending his speech by quoting the President’s famous expression as: “We must produce what we eat, and we must eat what we produce.”
Speaking earlier at the event, the President of the Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Salim Saleh Muhammad, commended the state government for the support given to them, describing the gesture as worthy of emulation.
Muhammad further said that through the support of N200 million received from the state government, about 98,000 farmers were engaged in wheat production, while over 28,000 are producing seeds for the development of wheat farming in the country.
The workshop’s theme was ‘Transforming Wheat Production in Nigeria through Increasing Synergies and Adopting New Technologies.’
It was attended by various stakeholders who included legislators, commissioners, development partners, entrepreneurs and wheat farmers.