By Ikenna Uwadileke
Abuja, July 19, 2020 Farmers under the aegis of Maize Growers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN) on Sunday applauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for stopping maize importation to boost local production.
Some of the farmers, who spoke with the Newsmen in Abuja, described the move as a step in the right direction.
The National President of the association, Dr Edwin Uche said that the move by the apex bank to ban the importation of maize into country was long overdue.
The CBN on July 13, directed foreign exchange dealers to stop processing `Forms M’ for the importation of maize in order to boost local production.
Uche said that the move would increase local production, stimulate rapid economic recovery by supporting small holder farmers and safeguard rural livelihoods in the country.
He said the move would also replace jobs lost as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“It will also assist local farmers get reasonable pricing for their efforts because we have the capacity to grow maize in this country instead of importing the commodity,’’ Uche added.
Miss Chima Udochi, a maize farmer said that the move demonstrated Federal Government’s determination to return agriculture as the mainstay of the country’s economy.
According to Udochi, agriculture is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy and should remain so.
“We the farmers have been expecting this ban on maize importation simply because when the right environment is created and the right support is given; farmers in Nigeria can grow sufficient maize for industrial use, local consumption and also for export,’’ she said.
Mr Alexander Okpanachi, the Chairman of the association in Kogi, commended the Federal Government for supporting maize farmers via the CBN Anchor Borrowers programme.
Okpanachi said that maize farmers in the state had been receiving support in form of loans and farm inputs to grow their crops.
According to him, maize production and processing has not suffered any setback in the state largely due to this support from the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Mr Mustapha Ahmadu, MAGPAMAN Chairman in Adamawa said that farmers across the maize value chain would experience a boost in maize production.
Ahmadu said that the ban would lead to high maize production to benefit players in the value chain.
According to him, with the support, the current price of maize which is between N165, 000 per tonnes and 175, 000 per tonne will reduce.
“This simply implies that Nigeria can now meet over 12 million metric tonnes of maize needed to supply feed millers, poultry farmers and to meet house hold demand,’’ Ahmadu said.
Similarly, Mr Salisu Adamu, MAGPAMAN Chairman, in Gombe said the CBN Anchor Borrowers programme had been successful in opening up the agricultural sector in the state.
He added that the policy would close the productivity gap in the farming sector as well as serve as a long term measure in curbing maize shortage in the country.