The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has more than 200,000 maize farmers to bolster domestic maize production and reduce the price of maize through increased production.
National President, Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Alhaji Bello Abubakar on Monday confirmed that the CBN had released credit facilities to more than 200,000 farmers who were expected to produce more than 25 million metric tonnes of maize in the 2020-2021 planting season.
The funds were provided under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the CBN.
Abubakar said the credit facilities were being distributed to members along the maize value chain nationwide.
He expressed confidence that the support of the CBN would boost production and, ultimately, ensure availability as well as stability in the price of the commodity.
Abubakar charged middlemen “not to take advantage of the supply gap to hike the price of the grains”.
He assured the government, that “farmers would maintain reasonable price” and urged the Federal Government to put in place “mechanism to protect farmers from market triggered shocks”.
Meanwhile, the price of maize is set to crash to N120,000 per metric tonne next month from N155,000 per metric tonne.
The maize price slash will be brought on by the planned release of about 300,000 Mt into the market from strategic anchors under the ABP of the CBN.
With the release of 300,000 Mt, it is expected that the prices of maize in the market will drop significantly, thereby increasing demand for the crop and, ultimately, enhancing the gains of maize farmers.
The anticipated maize release follows moves made by the CBN, working with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in the last quarter of 2020, to facilitate import waivers to four agro-processing firms to import 262,000 tonnes of maize to bridge the shortfall in production and augment local production.
Uche noted that banditry, drought in some parts of the country in 2020 and middlemen were responsible for high price.
Abubakar also attributed the shortfall in the quantity of maize available in the market to insecurity around the major maize producing belt of Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and part of Kano states.
According to him, hoarders and middlemen are responsible for the scarcity and exorbitant price of maize.
Another major stakeholder in the maize production, Mr. Ayodeji Balogun of AFEX, attributed the hike in price to cash-flow problem of farmers which has compelled them to resort to collecting cash from buyers ahead of production and resort to side-selling, especially across the borders of neighbouring countries due to higher prices.