Nigerian Government Maize Ban Policy and It’s Negative Effect on Farmers
It’s important to classify maize as a very essential ingredient in food production for man and livestock. Maize is an arable crop with its gestation period varying from 60 days to 120 days depending on the variety. The importance of maize for an average Nigerian can explain why a lot of Nigerian farmers cultivate or grow our own maize at very huge capacities as it is highly consumed.
Various farms and production companies depend on maize as a primary raw material. They should have been considered before policy-making that will affect them. There’s no maize sufficiency in Nigeria, thus banning its importation without prior notice to the various maize dependant value chains or not giving a timeline is a reckless approach which has created severe havoc in poultry and livestock farming.
Is this maize ban actually in the Nigerian farmers’ best interest?
Encouraging the growth of maize nationally is a laudable policy but considering the untimeliness of the ban and its crippling effects on the poultry industry, how profitable can this impact the government on introducing a policy that will grow an agricultural sector and same policy will in turn destabilize the poultry industry that Nigeria has earlier achieved in poultry sufficiency?
The poultry industry is a source of livelihood, creating huge job opportunities and income generation and also as a means of generating taxes at both the federal and state levels.
The poultry workers also pay taxes and if the poultry industry is not protected by the government’s maize policy, then why is the government championing agriculture and agribusiness and in turn committing such agricultural economic policy blunder? Upon such government flip flop or no proper notification before introducing a policy, what will a foreign investor whose focus is on poultry and livestock investment in Nigeria make out of this policy? How can FG ban what they don’t have? Such a ban is creating hoarding and severe scarcity for the actual users.
In the month of March, maize was sold at #90,000 naira per ton. Currently, maize is sold at #170,000. Before the ban, eggs were sold at #830 to #850 naira. Currently, eggs are sold at #930 to #950, so the Nigerian poultry and livestock farmers are losing funds. FG should have conducted a comprehensive analysis before banning the importation of maize. This approach could raise an iota of doubt on a genuine reason for the ban or otherwise e.g does this untimely and unannounced imports ban targeted at enriching a certain group?
From the financial loss accrued during the lockdown in this pandemic to the maize importation ban policy introduced without prior notification, can the poultry industry survive both crisis? If eventually, the poultry industry survives, who would bear the cost for the surging price?
It’s definitely the average Nigerian consumer, the same consumer that some state government couldn’t pay the minimum wage of #30,000 naira. Various businesses are directly or indirectly connected. Livestock Business value chain sells according to their purchase price. Considering this maize ban policy, the devaluation of Naira and price hike of maize on the poultry products, how then can the Nigerian consumers survive the difficult days ahead?
Which could have been easier? Certainly, it’s introducing the maize ban policy with notification and an adequate timeline to boost local production.
Timely and adequate notice will hurt no one. What type of palliative should the government provide for the consumer, poultry industry, and livestock business? Can the government mitigate the soaring price of maize? Who pays the cost of the surging poultry industry raw material caused due to inappropriate planning of the maize ban policy?
Before the ban of Rice in Nigeria, a bag of rice was sold at #7,500 naira, then after successfully banning the importation of rice, a bag of rice is now sold at #30,000 Naira. From the price analysis of rice, is it justifiable to ban and the price becomes more expensive than when it was imported?
Between 2020 to 2021, with the current economic realities, it is projected a crate of egg will be sold at #1000 to #1200 naira due to this untimely maize ban policy and the rising cost of maize.
Considering all of the above, can the Nigerian consumer afford to buy eggs or eat poultry meat? One of the primary responsibilities of the government should be the total well being of its citizens particularly the common man thus economic policies should be geared towards driving productivity, job creation, economic empowerment across the board.
Written By: Nwapali Onyeagu