The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize are ready for supply from strategic anchors under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), which will ultimately reduce the current price of maize from N155,000 per metric tonne.
According to the apex bank, the planned release follows a move by the critical stakeholders working with relevant government and security agencies to put a halt to reprehensible and speculative activities of middlemen and bandits.
With the planned release of 300,000 metric tonnes in February 2021, it is expected that the price of maize in the Nigerian market will drop significantly, thereby increasing demand for the crop and ultimately enhancing the gains of maize farmers.
Meanwhile, the National President of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Alhaji Bello Abubakar, in a chat with newsmen, attributed the current shortfall in the quantity of maize to include insecurity around the major maize producing belts of Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and part of Kano states.
He also identified activities of hoarders and middlemen who engage in hoarding of the grain.
Prime anchor under the maize production, Dr Edwin Uche, said that banditry, drought in some parts of the country in 2020 and activities of middlemen were responsible for the current high price.
He, however, argued that the planned dry season farming, which is 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. He expressed optimism about the price crashing to N120,000 per metric tonne in the next couple of days.
Another major stakeholder in the maize production, Ayodeji Balogun of AFEX, attributed the hike in price to cash-flow problem of farmers.
It will be recalled that the CBN in 2020 had provided credit facility and seed support to maize farmers to enable them increase their yield, particularly due to the challenge posed by the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic.