By Ebikiseiye Thompson, Abuja
Maize farmers under the auspices of Maize Association of Nigeria, MAAN, on Monday disclosed move to meet local demand with 22 million metric tonnes as soon as wet season farming commences.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National President of MAAN, Dr Bello Funtua, while assuring President Muhammadu Buhari, on production and availability of the commodity following widespread scarcity of the commodity recently.
According to the statement with all plans on ground and with the steady support of the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Anchor Borrowers Programme.
The statement also added that maize has the potentials of becoming a ‘Wonder Crop’ and the miracle all farmers and consumers are looking for.
The Association in the statement acknowledged the price hike of the commodity following Federal Government’s recent ban on maize importation, hence the demand went high but with little to meet it.
Although, the government has assured local farmers of its patronage, and the association also promised to work hard to provide support to maize farmers in the country with available inputs and technical support to boost maize production.
Meanwhile, the association also commended Buhari for the bold decision to ban maize importation, and described it as a step in the right direction towards making the attainment of food security a reality, and that the trust and confidence placed on maize farmers by the President is appreciated, which the association would not take for granted, but will work assiduously to meet the set targets.
In the statement, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was commended, especially in palliatives distribution to members of the association in the form of farm inputs.
Although, the statement made it clear that to bridge the deficit occasioned by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent floods and drought in some parts of the country, the association would also go for dry season commercial farming at up-scale production.
The statement reads in part, “Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) restates its commitment to continuously support the Federal government’s Agricultural policies and programs geared towards ensuring Nigeria attains Food Security and Food Sufficiency in the nearest future.
“Recently, the Federal Government placed a ban on the importation of maize thereby increasing the demand from local farmers and reassuring them of government patronage.
“The association would work assiduously to support maize farmers in the country with the best available inputs and needed technical support to boost maize farming.
“In order to bridge the deficit occasioned by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent floods and drought in some parts of the country, the association would embark on dry season farming at commercial level to scale up production.
“On Dry season farming, MAAN’s target is to cultivate maize all over the country in the dry season thereby ensuring that the produce is available all year round as farmers can cultivate minimum of three times in a year.
“This would enable farmers to make more profit, remain self reliance and repay their loans with ease.
“The impact of Dry Season farming on the Nigerian economy includes: Increase in Production & more Income; Boost Local Economy (As there is guaranteed market for produce); Enable Cottage Industries spring up across the country for processing maize into different forms of food and animals feeds, particularly for the Poultry sub-sector; Drastically reduce Poverty in the country as it would be readily available and affordable; Reduce Hunger and create Jobs for the teeming youths in the country.
“Drastically reduce Dependence on importation; Reduce insecurities in the country (Many youth in the country are most likely to buy into the maize farming idea since it’s an easy crop to cultivate thereby keeping them busy); and Enhance self sufficient and food security.
“All these would culminate into Nigerians growing what they eat at a time they need to eat and MAAN in collaboration with all relevant Stakeholders in all the States of the Federation is ready to make that a reality.
“The association’s target for the 2020 wet season farming is placed at Twenty –two million metric tons; with all plans on ground and with the steady support of the Federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme, Maize has the potentials of becoming a Wonder Crop and the miracle all Farmers and Consumers are looking for.”
According the statement, the association has keyed into the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme since 2018 till date and has positively impacted maize production in the country.