The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alh. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has alleged that some western countries of orchestrating strategies to cripple Nigeria’s efforts on wheat production and sufficiency.
Although, the Minister declined to categorically name or identify the country, insisted several countries in the western world are deploying several influences to sustain the country’s huge foreign investment in wheat importation.
The Minister spoke during a capacity-building workshop on wheat storage organized by the ministry for wheat farmers in Kano.
The Minister, who was represented by a director at the ministry, Hajiya Karima Babangida stressed that parts of the devilish strategies by the Western countries were to label Nigeria’s wheat with poisonous inclination, a deliberate plan to decimate Nigeria’s capacity in wheat production.
The director who insisted the country’s wheat gluten has never been proved with poisonous content, however, considered the assertion baseless adding that such a plan was only intended to block Nigeria’s wheat assess into the foreign market.
She said “if our wheat is poisonous, it would have finished with the European race, it would have finished with the Arab race it would have also finished with the Israeli race because their food depends on wheat.
“One of the challenges of wheat production in Nigeria is politics centred around the crop by some western countries. Some western countries are trying all they can to ensure that Nigeria does not become self-sufficient in wheat production.
“And part of the strategies these countries use is that they always publish that wheat is poisonous, and that is not true. If you have heard this, they said our wheat is poisonous because it contains gluten, which is not true.
” It is unfortunate that we don’t keep recorded here in Nigeria. I have never seen anybody that is allergic to gluten in this country. It is the wrong precedence for you to say wheat is poison. It’s about 0.001 percent of people that are allergic to wheat,” she said.
The Director emphasised that “It could be true that there are some people that are allergic to wheat, but that doesn’t conclude that it is poisonous. So let me draw your attention to the fact that it is not true. Wheat is not poisonous,”
Mrs Babangida explained that the post-harvest loss in wheat is 9.3 percent of which 6.6 % is attributed to storage.
Giving the breakdown of the losses, Mrs Babangida explained that 2.55% of the loss was attributed to insects, 2.50% rodents, 0.85% from birds while 0.68% is from moisture.
She called on the participants to ensure that they practice the knowledge they would acquire at the training in order to save them from losing approximately 3 bags of wheat per hectare every year.
In his remarks, the National President of Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Salim Saleh Muhammad, attributed the challenges of wheat farming in the country to the failure of the government to support farmers with require technology.
Salim said the Federal government does not support the farmers with seed varieties and loan facilities, lamenting that the production of wheat is dropping annually in the country.
He, therefore, called on the federal government to support the association with all its different types of interventions to agriculture in the country.