How often do you consume local delicacies like tuwo, alkaki, fura, taliya, gurasa etc or more commercially available products like noodles, pasta, spaghetti, confectioneries, semolina etc?
Wheat is among the most popular cash crop cultivated in Nigeria. It is made up of about 71% carbohydrates, 13% protein, 13% water, and 1.5% fat. Wheat is a great source of fiber, vitamin B and many minerals. In the World, wheat is the most grown and consumed crop with China leading with a production of more than 126 million tons yearly.
With 300,000 tons annually, wheat remains the least cereal produced locally in Nigeria although widely consumed. In 2013, the country’s wheat consumption was estimated at 4.1 million tons creating a huge market potential for wheat supply gap.
USDA estimated an increase of 4% in wheat volume imported to Nigeria in 2018-19 adding to the 5.4 million tonnes imported in 2017 thus indicating an increasing local demand for the cereal. To compound the woes of local production, the Boko Haram insurgents has further diminished the volume of wheat produced in the country as farmers and farmlands were displaced by the militants.
The variety of wheat cultivated in Nigeria is hard while the most popular types imported can’t grow in Nigeria as a result of soil and climatic condition of Nigeria. However, they offer varieties of alternate usage.
Wheat farming requires very well-drained soil and cannot be grown in salty or acidic soil. The region of the country that supports wheat production includes Northern states such as Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Adamawa, Jigawa and Gombe.
Planting and Harvesting Time
The planting season of wheat in Nigeria coincides with the harmattan season and planting is between November to December. The planting preparation starts with digging trenches or through the broadcasting of seeds. It takes about 100 to 120 days (3-4 months) for a wheat plant to mature and ready for harvest.
Seed planting rate of wheat varies from 40 to 90 kg/ha depending on the spacing, the 16-cm row spacing was found to be the most suitable. Wide row spacing (32 cm) gave lower yields and tiller and favoured the growth of weeds between rows.
Return on Investment
Wheat farming in Nigeria is quite lucrative and the market opportunity is quite enormous. With increasing market demand and industrial usage as raw materials, there is a ready market to absorb production hence marketing it quite attractive.
One hectare of land produces about 3 tons of wheat with a yield as high as 5 tons per hectare for improved variety.
Total cost of production is estimated at #185,000 with harvested wheat generating as much as #450,000 per hectare.
Some Wheat Milling Companies in Nigeria include