NIGERIA – The Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria (MFAN) has disclosed that it has secured N16billion (US$41.2m) funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria for the 2020/2021 planting season.

This comes after the ban on importation of maize by the apex ban to boost local production, stimulate a rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods, and increase jobs which were lost as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

CBN in a recent memo had directed all authorized dealers to discontinue processing of the Form M requesting for the importation of Corn with immediate effect.

In addition, the dealers were told to return all the Forms M they have already registered.

Commending the ban on importation of the grain, the National President, MFAN, Dr Bello Abubakar said that the funds they have secured will be distributed to about 40,000 members nationwide in the form of agro inputs like fertilizers, seeds, and agro-chemicals.

He further said to boost maize production during the 2020 wet season; the Association had acquired over 250,000 hectares of land, which will double their output this year, especially as the CBN has also supported them with the provision of high yielding maize seeds, reports Guardian Nigeria.

According to Abubakar, the target is to produce about 25 million metric tonnes of maize this year, to meet the 18million MT annual demand in Nigeria.

He noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the insecurity in the country they might not be able to meet up to 20 or 30 percent of the target.

He however appealed to states with comparative advantage in maize production to partner with the Association, by providing large area of arable land for cultivation, which will create more jobs and make life more meaning for the farmers.

Abubakar however charged merchants not to take undue advantage of the ban on importation to increase the price of the grains assuring that farmers would maintain reasonable price.

He also tasked the federal government to reactivate the Guarantee Minimum price to shield farmers from market shocks and give them the confidence that no matter the cost of production and market force, they will not run at a loss, and the end users would have instrument for price bargain.

Abubakar, while reacting to complaints by poultry farmers on their inability to get maize, said the Poultry Association of Nigeria has officially written to them demanding 1.5million MT of maize between now and December, and would fashion out ways to get the maize across to them after a meeting with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

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