Two maize farmers associations, Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) and Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN), have received N29 billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) to produce over 20 million metric tonnes of maize for the wet season.
Of this figure, N16bn went to the MAAN and N13bn went to MAGPAMAN.
The National President of MAAN, Dr. Abubakar Bello Funtua, said over 200,000 farmers in the association targeted over 20 million tonnes.
Maize also received a boost when the federal government, through the CBN, directed all authorised dealers in foreign exchange to immediately stop processing Form M for maize importation.
The apex bank believes that the policy will stimulate large-scale investment in maize production through a backward integration programme by the major feed millers which will help create more market, fix demand gap and other value chain issues.
The president of MAGPAMAN, Dr. Edwin Uche, who revealed that the association received N13bn for the wet season, said he foresaw a huge opportunity in the crop.
Dr. Uche said, “Maize is one of the commodities that can pull people out of poverty, it has a short life span, short gestation period, and you can do it two or three times a year. So what is a graduate doing when he can make a lot of money from it?”
The Head of Development Finance at the CBN, Mr. Yusuf Yila, who was represented by Mr. Elennor Ihua at a maize stakeholders meeting, said increased support was critical to develop the maize value chain.
Mr. Yila said, “The CBN is passionate about maize as a commodity, and we believe that there is immense opportunity in that crop, and Nigeria has a comparative advantage to produce maize that will not only sustain the country but can be exported.
“We have a mandate to ensure there is no maize scarcity in this country, and to grow maize production in this country. So, our target for the dry season is that we are going to double that number.
“In the next 18 months from this dry season, our target is to do 2.5 million hectares of maize in this country. It means in the next 18 months our projection for production is 12.5 million metric tonnes of maize, and we believe with that and the other products around the country, Nigeria will be self-sustainable in maize production.”