By Bukola Adewumi
Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has urged the Federal Government not to lift the ban on maize importation due to poultry farmers complaint over increase in price of feeds.
The President, MAAN, Bello Abubakar, made the appeal while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that the importation of maize grains at this crucial period would serve as disincentive to maize production, maize farmers and food chain system in the country.
Abubakar said that the agitation of Poultry Association of Nigeria and others seeking maize importation would affect maize production in Nigeria.
“The Federal Government through the CBN has approved the release of 300,000 metric tonnes 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, counter productive and unstainable to lift 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,” he said.
Abubakar said that the current high price of maize grains in the country was not permanent, adding that it was occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted supply chains and increased the cost of inputs.
He also said that the hoarding of maize grains by some commodity agents has resulted in artificial scarcity and attendant price hike.
“This has 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 National President, Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers’ Association of Nigeria, Edwin Uche, commended the efforts of government in sustaining the Anchor Borrowers programme, adding that it had led to increase in maize production across the country.
According to him, the association of maize farmers has built up capacity to produce enough maize for both local consumption and industrial use, adding that the association production target for 2021 stands at 25 million metric tonnes
Uche noted that any effort in importing maize would affect the livelihood of Nigerians who depends on income from maize farming.
“If not for the impact of covid-19 we will not be talking about high price of maize, or increase in the price of maize derivatives, as an association we are looking for ways to ameliorate these issues.
“In the next 3 months the price of maize will drop, we are also working to curb the hoarding of maize which has made it difficult for people to access maize and causing unnecessary scarcity.” (NAN)