The Maize Association of Nigeria has lauded the federal government over the recent ban on maize importation into the country and has also implored grain farmers and merchants not to use the opportunity to unnecessarily increase the price of maize grain.
Abubakar Bello, president of the association, made this commendation at a news conference in Abuja, further noting that the Central Bank of Nigeria had also released N16 billion for this year’s Anchor Borrowers Program to support the whole value chain of maize production.
While maize is grown in the entirety of the country, the North Central region is foremost in its production, with 70 percent of its farmers being smallholders, cultivating an average of 5 hectares of land.
Most of Nigeria’s maize production is aimed at the domestic market, since only a negligible portion is formally exported. Maize consumption is widespread across the country, as well as among households of varying wealth, given its frequent use in the preparation of traditional foods.
Bello said there is no need for end-users to seek maize importation, stressing that farmers have cultivated about 250,000 hectares of maize in this year’s wet season farming and that they are moving into substantial dry season farming with the assurance of an increase in production.
He shared that the association is working on getting reputable off-takers to make maize available and provide a market for farmers with a fair-trade price on both sides.
“With all these great steps being taken by the government, the country can be self-sufficient in maize production in the next few months if we all believe in the capacity of our farmers and put our hands on the plough. We have done it before and we can achieve it again as it was done in 2005,”, he said.