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Calls to Lift Ban on Maize Importation, “Unnecessary, Counterproductive” – Maize Farmers

Following the Federal Government restriction on maize importation and its resultant effects on industry key players, maize farmers and processors nationwide have condemned the calls for maize importation into the country.

The stakeholders, under the aegis of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) and Maize Growers, Farmers and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAGFAMAN) Tuesday, condemned the act.

They conveyed their displeasure through a press conference chaired by the National Presidents of the two associations, Dr Bello Abubakar, and Dr Edwin Uche, respectively.

Abubakar said, “The agitation by some associations including the Poultry Association of Nigeria seeking Authorized Dealers and the General Public to import maize grain from the official foreign exchange market is seen as a calculated attempt to further hinder maize production in Nigeria.

“The current high price of maize grains in the country is ephemeral. It is occasioned by the COVID 19 Pandemic that disrupted supply chains and increased the cost of inputs for many farming activities.

“In addition, hoarding of maize grains by some commodity agents also resulted in artificial scarcity and attendant price hikes.

“This affects commercial consumers that use maize as a key input in their production processes e.g. 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.

He stated that the federal government has put in efforts to scale up local production through the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and the release from the strategic grain reserve.

He harped on the need for sustained local production, noting that it would increase job opportunities while charting the country on its way to self-sufficiency in food production.

On his part, Uche noted that the country’s production capacity has increased to 20 million metric tonnes, over the last three years.

He assured Nigerians that with the improved capacity of farmers, local demand for the commodity will be met with 25 million metric tonnes of maize before the end of 2021.

He also corroborated his colleague (Abubakar)’s statement, that the federal government has ensured enough support for the farmers. According to him, the government is also involved in the capacity building process.

“The assurance we are giving as an association is that a little or no time the price of maize will drop; In little or no time- in the next three or four months drastically and we are working on it.

“We are also doing our best to block individuals who are making maize availability difficult for our people. We have maize stored by those who are driving maize merchants in our system.

“And we are developing the strategic framework, implementation strategies to be able to block these people from buying from our smallholder farmers and hoarding them to cause unnecessary scarcity”, he asserted.

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