…If challenges to maize production remains unresolved
The ongoing issue on importation of maize between the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) and Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) farmers in the country calls for critical analysis and for the intervention of relevant authorities to resolve the situation. MSMEstoday finding revealed that maize importation into the country will gulp N126.8 billion ($282 million) at the exchange rate of N450/$ by 2029 if the impediments to maize production remains unresolved. This was deduced from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nation Agricultural Outlook.
The report revealed that Nigeria’s consumption of maize will increase to 14 million tonnes by 2029 and feed demand for maize is to increase to 2.4 million tonnnes in 2029 from 2.1 million tonnes in 2020. The Poultry Association of Nigeria of the opinion that with the current Covid-19 pandemic situation that has disrupted the supply chain, herdsmen activities which have led to the destruction of multi-million farms in some state within the country and increased cost of inputs for many farming activities, authorized dealers and the general public should be allow to import maize grain at the official foreign exchange market.
This opinion was met with condemnation from maize farmers and processors under the auspices of MAAN, Maize Growers, Farmers and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAGFAMAN. They are of the opinion that the issues raised by aforementioned association is a calculated attempt to further hinder maize production in the country which will save the country from spending N126.8 billion on importation and save more foreign exchange.
However, if government will focus on improving maize production; the country should be able to surpass 12 million tonnes in term of production projection by FOA report for 2029 with the production of 25 million tonnes by the end of 2021. This projected 25 million tonnes for 2021, is about 78.57% increase when compared with projected consumption of 14 million tonnes for 2029 by FOA report for the country.
Further analysis from MAAN revealed that, in the last three years, the country has tripled the production of maize. It had a production of maize via the Anchor Borrowers Scheme; the Central Bank of Nigeria has invested so much in the Anchor Borrower’s Scheme, which moved maize production from 8 million metric tonnes to 12 million metric tonnes, to 15 million tonnes and 20 million metric tonnes. This is an offshoot of the federal government ensuring that agriculture is the bane of Nigeria’s economy, employer of labour and opportunity creator in the economy.
Our checks also show that MAAN have the capacity to grow maize for both industrial use and local consumption. It is going beyond two seasons of farming and looking at a situation of growing maize all year round. It has strategically developed capacity for maize production to bridge the gap existing in the maize production circle and its value chain.
According to MSMEstoday, gaps that exist between the supply and demand for maize should be closed through more investment into maize cultivation instead of importation of maize from other countries. MSMEs in the agriculture sector should be encouraged and supported by the government to take advantage of the gap that exists between demand and supply of maize to plant more maize to meet up with the demand by creating an enabling environment, financial support and provision of a good variety of seedlings. Importation of maize is projected to increase from 0.4Mt in 2010-2019 to 1.4Mt in 2029. This represents a growth rate of about 14.7%. Nigeria is to account for 4.7% of Africa maize importation by 2029 if current gaps are not plugged.