The current price of maize is expected to reduce significantly as strategic anchors under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), are set to release 300,000 metric tonnes next month (February).
Also, demand for the crop is expected to increase and improve the gains of maize farmers.
The release follows moves made by the CBN, in collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in the last quarter of 2020, to facilitate import waivers to four agro-processing companies to import 262,000 tonnes of maize to bridge the shortfall in production and augment local production.
Prior to the CBN-NCS collaboration, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the release of 30,000 tonnes of maize from the National Strategic Grain Reserve to support the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) at a subsidized rate.
The National President of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Bello Abubakar, while speaking with reporters, attributed the current shortfall in the quantity of maize available in the market, to include insecurity around the major maize producing belt of Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and part of Kano states.
Bello also identified the activities of hoarders and middlemen who engage in the hoarding of the grain.
Also speaking in the same vein, a prime anchor under the maize production, Dr Edwin Uche, noted that banditry, drought in some parts of the country in 2020 and activities of middlemen are responsible for the current high price.
He, however, opined that the planned dry season farming which was 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.
Uche expressed optimism about the price crashing to N120,000 per metric tonne in the next couple of days.
Another major stakeholder in maize production, Ayodeji Balogun of AFEX, attributed the hike in price to the cash-flow problem of farmers, which has compelled farmers 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.