Maize Farmers to FG: Sustain ban on maize importation

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By: Ene Okwanihe

The Maize Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the Nigerian government to sustain the ban on Maize importation into the country, to further boost local maize production.

Besides, it would also continue to encourage farmers.

The National President of the Maize Association of Nigeria Dr. Bello Abubakar Annoor Funtua made the call in his welcome address at the inauguration of the first National Maize Pyramids and flag-off of the 2021 wet season farming organized by the Maize Association of Nigeria in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria in Katsina state northwest Nigeria.

Dr. Abubakar said maize farmers in the country are currently producing enough to meet up the demand for maize in Nigeria.

“We say no to maize importation into Nigeria and we will always support the Central Bank of Nigeria for denying maize importers forex because the CBN supports President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda of “eat what we produce and produce what we Eat” as far maize is concerned we can produce enough for our consumption and industrial use”

On the impact of the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme of farmers and maize production in the country, he said the programme has helped smallholder maize farmers in the country attain quality production and sustainable life.

On loan repayment, Dr. Abubakar called on his fellow farmers to cultivate the habit of repaying their loans in order to ensure the success of the Anchor Borrower’s 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”

“Anchor Borrower’s Programme 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”

On his part, the governor of the apex bank Dr. Godwin Emefiele in his keynote address said the unveiling of the maize pyramids by the association is a demonstration of the progress made with commodity association towards attaining self-sufficiency in food production in Nigeria.

“This maize pyramid unveiling programme marks another milestone in the CBN Anchor Borrower’s story and further demonstrates the progress we made in with commodity association towards attaining Food sufficiency in Nigeria”

He said the apex was able to achieve success in the programme because of the synergy amongst stakeholders and the readiness of Nigerian farmers.

Dr. Emefiele said the Anchor Borrower’s Programme has proven to be a game-changer in revolutionizing agriculture in Nigeria.

“The anchor borrower’s programme has proven to be a game-changer in the financing of smallholder farmers in Nigeria and it has revolutionized agricultural financing and has remained the bedrock of agricultural programme in Nigeria, beyond being a tool for economic empowerment, job creation and wealth redistribution, it has also helped to strengthen financial inclusion in our rural community”

Dr. Emiefele added that the  CBN would continue to release maize from strategic grains reserves into the market in order to moderate the price of maize in the market to checkmate the activities of hoarders in the Nigerian market.

There were nine pyramids of over 50 thousand 100kg bags of maize from Katsina state alone on display by the maize association of Nigeria at the unveiling ceremony of the first National Maize Pyramids.

The maize is being used to repay the anchor borrowers loan by the farmers while the apex bank would allocate the maize to off-takers consisting of mostly feed meals and also the strategic grains reserve in the country.

The loan repayment and recovery would take place in all the participating states.

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