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The Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has announced a 60 percent increase in annual production to 20 million metric tons in 2020 from 8 million metric tons in 2015.
Speaking at the formation ceremony of maize pyramids in Kaduna state, Abubakar Bello, the national president of MAAN, said the increase recorded was as a result of the government’s intervention through the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
According to him, the maize which was sourced from across the country is the second pyramid to be formed in Nigeria by the Association since the commencement of the ABP in 2015.
“Before this administration came in, in 2015, we only had 8 million tons of maize, but by the end of 2020, it was 20 million tons and apart from that, farmers now have access to inputs without their money but as a loan, they get the technology under the ABP.
“Where farmers are getting 20 tons of maize, now they are getting 50 tons of maize, there is a new technology of farming, there are extension services under ABP, mechanization and monitoring and evaluation, the farmers are benefiting and they have increased their production.
“The maize mills we have in the country have increased, the processors have more companies now, they now employ more people, these are the success stories of the ABP. In one season more than one million people got jobs under ABP”, he said.
Speaking on the high cost of maize, Bello said Covid-19 pandemic was a contributory factor because input production companies could not produce due to the lock down which restricted movement.
He noted that factors such as high cost of production, poor access to mechanization also impacted the cost of the produce.
He also disclosed that the pyramid will represent part of loan repayment by maize farmers to the Central Bank of Nigeria for the 2021 wet season farming.
“We want to set up this pyramid in order to showcase the success and the achievement of the Anchor Borrowers Program under President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Also, we want to showcase what we have done and to acknowledge what Mr. President has done to maize farmers in Nigeria, we also want to show the effort and appreciation of all maize farmers in nigeria.
“I want to appreciate the effort and support of the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who embraced this program and promised to support us, we have seen the reality.
“The number of pyramids to be erected will be determined by the space we have here. The loan repayment is for the 2021 wet season”, he said.
Ibrahim Hussaini, commissioner of Agriculture, Kaduna State, said the pyramid is symbolic and will go a long way in convincing Nigerians that CBN program and the association are ensuring that Nigeria achieves self-sufficiency in food production.