ABN – The Nigerian government is hopeful that ramping up production of two new strains of wheat will enable the country to halve its wheat imports by 2017.
The two wheat varieties are especially suited to warm climates and were first released to farmers in 2014.
According to the government-funded Lake Chad Research Institute, the strains can be grown using rainwater or irrigation and are capable of producing 3.5-6.5 tonnes per hectare.
Previous strains were limited to maximum outputs per hectare of four tonnes for irrigated farms and 2.5 tonnes for rainwater-reliant farms.
Oluwasina Olabanji, executive director of the research institute, said: “I hope that by 2017m our production will hit 1.5 million tonnes and reduce importation by 50%.
“This is our target and it is achievable. Annual wheat production should grow at 20% from 2017.”