The Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ban the importation of maize into the country, adding that their yield has increased over the years and can satisfy local demand.
MAAN said their members who have grown from 1.2 million to over 5 million farmers have increased their yield from 8 million MT in 2015 to 20 million MT in 2018, hence the importation will not be needed.
Setting agenda for President Buhari in his second term, the National President of MAAN, Bello Abubakar called on the President to ensure that at the end of harvest, that the maize produced by the farmers is off-taken in order to sustain the Anchor Borrowers Program.
“For the past four years of President Muhammadu Buhari, MAAN has grown very well and there is a lot of tremendous achievements in the association, formerly we have not less than 1.2 million members, but because of the progress and achievements, we now have about five million registered members, that is financial and non financial members.
“Also in terms of progress, we have achieved because MAAN has improved maize production in Nigeria. In 2015, it was only eight million tons that was produced, but as at 2018, we produced about 20 million tons.
“We are expecting that by this year or next year, President Buhari will stop maize importation in Nigeria just like he did with rice, since we are producing more than enough”, Abubakar said.
Furthermore, he said “also in this Anchor Borrowers Programme, this is the programme for the government, so the money that is given to the farmers as a loan, we want this programme to be a revolving and a complete value chain cycle, If CBN provide this loan to farmers, at the end of the harvest, we want the government to off take all what they have produced, because, every year, federal ministry of Agriculture used to purchase grains on behalf of the federal government.
“So our prayer is that the federal government will now intervene so that what ever farmers produced under anchor borrower, they will now off take what they have produced, so that the programme will be sustainable”.
The MAAN National President further said that in the coming years, they would enhance Maize production in the South South and South East by providing Maize varieties that can boost production in the regions.
“Also we enhanced maize production in South South and South East. What they are producing there is more now. In the Northern part of Nigeria, if you look at Katsina State, there were a lot of areas where they were not producing maize, but because of the different varieties we got under this administration, they are now producing maize”.
On how prepared MAAN is for this year’s wet season farming, Abubakar said “we have done a lot, because we have already submitted a list of about 200 farmers to CBN for validation and verification.
“We have already held a lot of meetings with all the stakeholders in terms of input supply so that they will provide good and quality input products to our farmers. We have already made all the necessary arrangements, only waiting for the validated list of our farmers so that they can start supplying to our farmers.
“Also in terms of mechanization and other extension services, we have done everything, only waiting for the verified list from the CBN so that we can just go ahead. In terms of the Fall Army Worm, last year, we collaborated with the FAO and the federal ministry of Agriculture in tackling it.
“Also this year, the same thing, and even in our programme, we have provide and included pesticides and insecticides for the Fall Army Worm so that In case if there is any problem with the worm, our farmers will now use it. Also we are going to use Aflasafe in this farming season so that we now produce an aflatoxin free maize in Nigeria”.