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25 million MT maize production target threatened due to COVID-19- Nigerian maize farmers 

The Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has commended the Federal Government over the recent ban on maize importation into the Country.
This is just as the Association said this planting season, their members were targeting about 25 million metric tons of maize production this year, but may suffer about 25 per cent reduction due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The farmers also said thay have cultivated about 250,000 hectares of maize in this year’s wet season farming.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, the National President of MAAN, Dr Abubakar Bello said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had released N16 billion for this year’s Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP).
“In recent the pass, precisely, on Monday 13th July, 2020. The Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari, announced the ban of maize importation into the Country. This announcement can not give Maize Association of Nigerian, MAAN, happiness than what it has been since the news of the ban”, Dr Bello said
He said this planting season (2020) the CBN has supported the whole of value chain of maize production.
“From the provision of all needed inputs to land preparations to harvesting, aggregation and storage”, he noted.
“This year, 2020 wet season programme maize production, over 250,000 hectares of land have been cultivated by MAAN members only, with this and other partners, maize production would be doubled.
“To achieve this, the CBN has supported by providing high yielding maize seeds to all our members.
“With all these great steps being taken by government, the country can be self sufficient in maize production in the next few months if we all believe in the capacity of our farmers and put our hands on the plough. We have done it before and we can achieve it again as it was done in 2005”, he said.
Dr Bello therefore said there is no need for any end users to seek for maize importation, stressing that “we are moving more into large dry season farming where we are sure that it will increase the availability of maize grains for all end users.
He said Maize Association of Nigeria, was already engaging reputable commercial end users of maize to enter into Memorandum of Understanding as off takers. According to him, this is to make maize available and provide market for farmers under a fair-trade price to both sides.
He, however, appealed to states that have comparative advantage in maize production, to partner with MAAN by providing large area of arable lands for cultivation by its members, which he said would create more Jobs and make life more meaningful to farmers.
“In other to sustain this great step taken by the government, grain farmers and Merchants should not use the opportunity to unnecessaryly lncrease the price of maize grain.
“We should also contribute our quota by maintaining reasonable prices. We wish to pray to Federal Government to kindly reactivate the Guarantee Minimum Price (GMP).
“This would give farmers confidence that no matter the situations as regardıng the cost of production and market forces, the farmers know the lest of price of his produce and the end users too will have instrument of bargain for price.
“Also, we advise serious entrepreneurs to establish maize processing plants to strengthen the value chain of the use of maize.
“To encourage the entrepreneur to do this, government should assist them in accessing machineries. More importantly, we plead that the CBN to provide soft and quick loan facility to interested entrepreneur to establish Maize industries”, he added.


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