The national president of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Alhaji Bello Abubakar, has attributed the current shortfall in the quantity of maize available in the market to include insecurity around the major maize producing belt of Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and parts of Kano State.
In a chat with journalists recently, Alhaji Bello also identified the activities of hoarders and middlemen.
- Rano’s perishing historical monuments
- Stop instigating Yorubas against Fulani herders, Tella warns Akeredolu, Igboho
Also speaking, Dr Edwin Uche noted that banditry, drought in some parts of the country in 2020 and activities of middlemen were responsible for the current high price.
He, however, opined that the planned dry season farming, which is the first of its kind in the country, timely distribution of inputs to farmers and improved security would go a long way to enhance production and ensure stability in price.
Another major stakeholder in maize production, Mr Ayodeji Balogun of AFEX, attributed the hike in price to cash-flow problem of farmers, which has compelled them to resort to collecting cash from buyers ahead of production and resort to side-selling, especially across the borders of neighbouring countries due to higher prices.
In 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had provided credit facility and seed support to maize farmers to enable them increase their yield, particularly due to the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the bank’s financing framework, the CBN had facilitated the funding of maize farmers and processors through the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), commodity associations, private/prime anchors, state governments, Maize Aggregation Scheme (MAS) and the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS).
Confirming the release of credit to its members by the CBN, the national president of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Dr Bello Abubakar, disclosed that over 200,000 farmers were targeted to produce more than 25million metric tonnes of maize in the 2020/2021 planting season.
According to him, the credit secured by the CBN is being distributed to members along the maize value chain, nationwide.
He expressed confidence that the support of the CBN would boost production and ultimately ensure availability, as well as stability in the price of the commodity.
In spite of cases of insecurity in some parts of the country, he said farmers were committed to meeting the objective of food security.
Abubakar also charged middlemen not to take advantage of the supply gap to hike the price of the grains, even as he assured that farmers would maintain reasonable price. He equally urged the Federal Government to put in place, mechanism to protect farmers from market- triggered shock.
Meanwhile, with about 100,000 hectres of farmland already prepared for the novel dry season maize cultivation from January through March, it is expected that 80 per cent of the total yield could be harvested from North-West and North-East alone, sometime in May this year.