Maize Farmers, Processors kick Against Maize Importation
Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) and Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN) have kicked against the call of poultry farmers for the federal government to lift the ban on maize importation that it would hamper the growth of the maize value chain and the agricultural sector.
The President, MAAN, Bello Abubakar, while addressing journalists in Abuja, said the importation of maize grains into the country at this crucial period will serve as a disincentive to maize production, maize farmers and food chain system in the country.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) through the CBN has graciously approved the release of 300,000MT of maize grains from the Strategic Grains Reserve (SGR) to ameliorate the adverse effect of maize grain price hike and scarcity in the country.
“Consequently, it is needless, counterproductive and unstainable to lift the ban on maize grains importation. We believe that not acceding to maize importation will aid not just attaining food security as a nation but also in creating job opportunities and fostering economic development as well.”
Abubakar stated that the current high price of maize grains in the country is as a result of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the supply chains and increased the cost of inputs for many farming activities, adding that the hoarding of maize grains by some commodity agents resulted in artificial scarcity and attendant price hike.
According to him, “This has an effect on commercial consumers that use maize as a key input in their production processes, like poultry farmers and consumer goods manufacturers. It is worthy of note that the COVID-19 Pandemic disrupted supply chains and increased the cost of inputs for many farming communities globally.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as part of her developmental functions, has been striving hard to increase national production volumes of maize. The CBN policy of agriculture, small and medium enterprise scheme and the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) have been very successful in opening up the agricultural sector in the country.
“Both policies have worked effectively in closing the productivity gap in the crop farming subsector. This effort should be appreciated and sustained.”
The National President, MAGPAMAN, Edwin Uche, commended the efforts of the federal government in sustaining the Anchor Borrowers program, adding that it has led to a significant increase in maize production across the country and the Association have scaled up capacity to produce maize for both local consumption and industrial use.
In his words, “A lot has happened since the COVID-19 pandemic, in the past three years, we have had tremendous growth in the production of maize, as we recorded 20 million metric tonnes as at the end of 2020, through the Anchor Borrowers Program.
“This is an off-shoot of the effort of the federal government to ensure that agriculture remains the mainstay of the Nigerian economy and we are hopeful that with the dry season and efforts to manage the COVID-19, we would be able to produce at least 25 million Metric tonnes before the end of the year.” He stated.
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