The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has revealed that some western countries have allegedly employed strategies to sabotage Nigeria’s wheat production.
The ministry alleged that the western countries are playing politics with wheat production in order to block Nigeria from being self-sufficient in the production of the crop.
One of the strategies used by the Western countries, according to the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture of the ministry, Hajiya Karima Babangida, was labelling Nigeria’s wheat as poisonous.
Mrs Babangida, represented by Naphtali D. Telta, National Wheat Value Chain Desk Officer at a Capacity Building for Wheat Farmers on Good Agricultural Practices for Wheat Storage, held in Kano yesterday, said the countries labeled Nigeria’s wheat as poisonous because it contains gluten.
According to her, gluten has never been a poisonous content in wheat, adding that the assertion is baseless and plots to block Nigeria’s wheat market in order to be exporting the crip into the country.
She said “if wheat were poison, 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.
“One 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 a 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 drow 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 government to fund the farmers.
He also said that 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.