Following the ban of maize imports, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced on Friday that it would support local maize farmers in Nigeria, as it projects production of 12.5 million tons of maize in 18 months.
This was disclosed by the CBN’s chief of Development Finance, Mr. Yusuf Yila, in a meeting with the Maize Growers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN). The stakeholders in the industry discussed strategies on CBN’s MAIZE Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) for 2020.
Back story: Last Monday, CBN directed all authorised dealers to immediately discontinue the processing of Forms M for maize/corn importation into the country. This directive was contained in a notice that was addressed to authorised dealers and signed by Dr. O.S Nnaji, CBN’s Director in charge of the Trade and Exchange Department.
In the notice which was made available to the public, the CBN noted four main reasons for the directive to discontinue maize importation, The reasons are:
- To increase local production
- To stimulate a rapid economic recovery
- To safeguard rural livelihoods
- To increase jobs
In line with this development, all the authorised dealers have been told to return all the Forms M they have already registered for the purpose of importing maize. They are to return the forms on or before Wednesday, July 15, 2020.
Why it matters: The CBN said that the bank’s support for the industry was important for the development of the maize value chains in Nigeria, as its the main commodity grown in Nigeria and it uses stretches from the farms to beverage companies.
“CBN is passionate about maize as a commodity and we believe that there is immense opportunity in that crop and Nigeria has a comparative advantage to produce maize that will not only sustain the country but can be exported,” Nnaji said.
Nnaji said that in the 2020 wet season farming, maize farmers have met a target of 250,000 hectares and the association accounts for about 70,000. Adding that the CBN’s job is to ensure Nigeria does not run the risk of a Maize scarcity, citing that the bank’s target for the dry season is to double the present production number.
The President of the maize farmers association, Dr. Edwin Uche, revealed that the association has received support up to N13 billion for 70,000 farmers from the CBN for the 2020 wet season farming. He called on the farmers to take advantage of the opportunity.
He added that the scheme will help farmers not only with finance but with access to mechanization and technology to increase production in the value chain.