Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) is urging the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to sustain the ban placed on the importation of some commodities in the country.
The trade bloc says the continuation of the policy will further enhance local capacity.
This is coming as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) via the MAAN-CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) unveiled the first maize pyramids in Katsina State.
On the occasion, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also flagged off the 2021 Maize Wet Season Farming to target 500,000 hectares of maize in 2021.
Emefiele explains that Nigeria is committed to attaining self-sufficiency in maize production by 2022, pointing out that the stable crop was one of the priority crops under the ABP because of the crucial role it plays as a major staple food item and a significant feedstock for the poultry industry in the country.
The apex bank’s chief notes that Nigeria has witnessed a remarkable increase in maize production in the past six years with the support of the ABP.
”Maize pyramids are indeed rare, but we have been able to achieve this through synergy amongst stakeholders and the resilience of our farmers. Success is indeed infectious, and this will surely spur us to do more.
”This event symbolises our commitment towards enabling self-sufficiency in maize production by 2022 in Nigeria”, Emefiele said as he also divulged that the apex bank was targeting to support farmers to cultivate over 500,000 hectares of maize in 2021, through its ABP.
This, according to him, will be achieved through synergy between stakeholders and the resilience of farmers.
He recalled that in 2019 CBN’s ABP assisted maize farmers to cultivate about 100,000 hectares, and 250,000 hectares in 2020 adding that it was expected to increase to 500,000 hectares in 2021.
To achieve the foregoing, Emefiele said CBN will introduce among others, the use of high yield seeds and mechanised farming.
He is therefore, urging Nigerian youths to embrace agriculture as means of livelihood adding that the impact of Nigeria’s monetary policy measures will be limited, if it does not address some of the structural constraints that limit productivity in key sectors of the economy such as agriculture.
MAAN’s National President, Dr. Bello Abubakar, was however, speaking during the inauguration of the first National Maize Pyramids and kick-off of the 2021 wet season farming in the home state of President Buhari.
Abubakar said that maize farmers are currently producing enough to meet up the demand, insisting, ”we say no to maize importation into Nigeria and we will always support CBN for denying maize importers forex, because the CBN supports President Buhari’s agenda of, “eat what we produce and produce what we eat.”
He reiterated that as far as maize is concerned, “we can produce enough for our consumption and industrial use.”
Regarding the impact of the CBN’s ABP, Abubakar said the project has assisted smallholder maize farmers to boost quality production hence leading to a sustainable life.
He also implored his colleagues to cultivate the habit of paying back loans to ensure the sustainability of the AB Programme.
”The success of the Anchor Borrower’s Programme lies in our conduct as maize farmers, we therefore, need to be optimistic in our thoughts and in repaying our loans as at when due for the survival of the programme.
”ABP was initiated in the first instance to help link smallholder farmers to processors, thereby creating viable and sustainable money – a word is enough for the wise – please, let us wake up and accept the challenge of repaying our loans”, he said.