The Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN), has commended the Federal Government for its agricultural intervention programmes aimed at driving food sufficiency in the country.
The National President of MAGPAMAN, Dr Edwin Uche, made the commendation at the association’s national stakeholders meeting on Monday in Abuja.
The meeting is focused on implementation of 2021 Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) wet season maize Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
According to Uche, the present administration has supported agriculture through several intervention windows like the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and other financial portfolios in the CBN.
“You have cash commercial agric loan, real sector support facility, Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture.
“All these development banks have enjoyed some level of government pressure in terms of creating portfolio that can support agriculture.
“And for those of us who are farmers, we have never had it better in terms of investments in agriculture where our farmers have access to inputs, finance, technology, mentorship, quality leadership in agriculture and access to market.
“Our farmers are able to drive agriculture from the point of profitability where a farmer is meant to understand that if I am putting in one naira, I am getting two naira.
“Where farmers are meant to understand that they are critical players in the agenda called Nigeria and economic development of this country relies on their ability to contribute by growing his commodities and delivering results.
`There has never been in the history of Nigeria where agriculture is in the front burner like it is today.
“Every other thing is trying to set agriculture back but it has remained at the front burner,’’ Uche said.
He pledged farmers’ commitment to take positive decisions that would scale up maize production in the country to meet local demand, industrial use and for export.
According to him, our resolve to do what is right, get it right and drive a process that is transparent, efficient and effective determines the future of agriculture, specifically maize in Nigeria.
“It is for us to look inwards to see how best we can improve on what we have done and do it better in our future programmes,’’ he added.
While lamenting the effect of COVID-19 on maize production in Nigeria in 2020, the National President of the association expressed optimism that 2021 would record improved yields.
He said “2020 was a COVID year that grossly affected what we are doing in terms of agriculture but 2021 holds a bigger promise. It is a deliverance year.
“It is a year we must be forced to keep the promise of 2020 and that of 2021, so we make a firm statement to our stakeholders that we are equal to the task and we are ready to deliver.
“We are going to build on our successes in the previous years and close up the gaps that existed in the past to deliver better and more profitable value to Nigerians,’’ Uche said.
He tasked the farmers to create more jobs by adding value to maize.
On his part, Dr Bello Dogandaji, the National Secretary, Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria (FACAN), expressed confidence on members of the association to harness the potential in maize.
Dogondaji tasked the maize farmers to scale up production to support the CBN in meeting the production of 12.5 million metric tons of maize in the country.
“Nigeria’s farmers must grow enough maize to bridge the gap in maize production and support government’s ban on maize importation,’’ he said.
On his part, Mr Inuwa Ibrahim, Senior Commercial Officer, Commodities and Export Department, Ministry of Trade and Investment, urged the farmers to triple efforts in adding value to maize as a commodity.
Ibrahim emphasised the ministry’s commitment to partner with commodity associations that were determined to promote food security in the country.
He urged the maize farmers to leverage on the CBN, ABP support to prove they could produce for local demand and industrial use.
Mr Saad Taura, the Chairman, MAGPAMAN, Jigawa, harped on the need for early preparation toward the 2021 wet season.
“Preparation is the key to success pertaining maize production. So with the early steps and level we are taking like early distribution of inputs to the farmers and going by the experience in 2020, we are hoping to have bumper harvest.’’
He said that Jigawa targets to have up to 90 per cent production in 2021.
Taura, however, listed insecurity, flooding and drought as some of the challenges confronting maize production in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the farmers were taken through how to improve maize cultivation, management and warehousing system.