By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Maize Association of Nigeria, MAAN, on Monday, assured President Muhammadu Buhari, on the production of maize to meet high demands across the country with 22 million metric tonnes.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National President, MAAN, Dr Bello Abubakar Funtua, where the association disclosed that its target for the 2020 wet season farming is placed at 22 million metric tonnes; with all plans on the ground and with the steady support of the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Anchor Borrowers Programme, and also added that maize has the “potentials of becoming a ‘Wonder Crop’ and the miracle all farmers and consumers are looking for.”
According to the statement, Federal Government’s recent ban maize importation has increased demand from local farmers and reassures them of the government’s patronage, which the association would work assiduously to support maize farmers in the country with the best available inputs and needed technical support to boost maize farming.
The association also commended Buhari for the bold and strategic decision to ban maize importation, and described it as a step in the right direction towards making the attainment of food security a reality, and that the trust and confidence placed on maize farmers by the President is appreciated, which the association would not take for granted, but will work assiduously to meet the set targets.
It also appreciated the support received from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, especially the palliatives its members all over the country received from the Ministry in the form of farm inputs.
However, the association pointed out that in order to bridge the deficit occasioned by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent floods, and drought in some parts of the country, it would embark on dry season farming at the commercial level to scale up production.
The statement reads in part, “Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) restates its commitment to continuously support the Federal government’s Agricultural policies and programs geared towards ensuring Nigeria attains Food Security and Food Sufficiency in the nearest future.
“Recently, the Federal Government placed a ban on the importation of maize thereby increasing the demand from local farmers and reassuring them of government patronage.
“The association would work assiduously to support maize farmers in the country with the best available inputs and needed technical support to boost maize farming.
“In order to bridge the deficit occasioned by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent floods and drought in some parts of the country, the association would embark on dry season farming at a commercial level to scale up production.
“On Dry season farming, MAAN’s target is to cultivate maize all over the country in the dry season thereby ensuring that the product is available all year round as farmers can cultivate a minimum of three times in a year.
“This would enable farmers to make more profit, remain self-reliant, and repay their loans with ease.
“The impact of Dry Season farming on the Nigerian economy includes: Increase in Production & more Income; Boost Local Economy (As there is guaranteed market for produce); Enable Cottage Industries to spring up across the country for processing maize into different forms of food and animals feeds, particularly for the Poultry sub-sector; Drastically reduce Poverty in the country as it would be readily available and affordable; Reduce Hunger and create Jobs for the teeming youths in the country.
“Drastically reduce Dependence on importation; Reduce insecurities in the country (Many youths in the country are most likely to buy into the maize farming idea since it’s an easy crop to cultivate thereby keeping them busy), and Enhance self-sufficient and food security.
“All these would culminate into Nigerians growing what they eat at a time they need to eat and MAAN in collaboration with all relevant Stakeholders in all the States of the Federation is ready to make that a reality.
“The association’s target for the 2020 wet season farming is placed at Twenty –two million metric tons; with all plans on the ground and with the steady support of the Federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme, Maize has the potentials of becoming a Wonder Crop and the miracle all Farmers and Consumers are looking for.”
According to the statement, the association has keyed into the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme since 2018 to date and has positively impacted maize production in the country.
But the statement demanded that the government should come up with a standard and stable agricultural policy that will bring all relevant stakeholders on board to design a new road map.
“On the issues of stable agricultural policies in the country, the association wishes to call on the government to ensure a standard and stable agriculture policy in the country by engaging all relevant stakeholders to design a new road map for agriculture from 2020 to 2030”, it asserted.