LAGOS, NIGERIA — The Central Bank of Nigeria has partnered with Heritage Bank PLC to disburse 41 billion naira ($99.7 million) to farmers across 14 states in Nigeria for the expansion of wheat production projects.

Ifie Sekibo, managing director and chief executive officer of Heritage Bank, said the partnership will help consummate the Wheat Seed Multiplication Project under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Brown Revolution Initiative. The project is designed to increase domestic production of wheat and close a wide supply gap in Nigeria.

“What we want to achieve is to end importation of seeds and make Nigeria self-sufficiency in wheat production,” said Olugbenga Awe, divisional head of agribusiness, natural resources and project development at Heritage Bank. “We are working with about 30 firms focusing only on seed production and also working with CBN to make sure we register all farmers. We believe working with LCFE (Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange) will move Nigerian farmers from informal approach to structural approach.”

Akinsola Akeredolu-Ale, managing director of the LCFE, commended the CBN and Heritage Bank for their support, noting their actions have leveraged Nigeria to be on the right track for self-sufficiency in food production. He said the project should allow farmers, warehouse owners, commodity middlemen and commodity merchants to be able to trade wheat.