Farmers urge Nigerian govt to stop maize importation

Maize
Maize

The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society, on Tuesday urged the federal government to set a time line to ban the importation of maize into the country.

The group’s National Coordinator, Redson Tedheke, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the suspension of the import would protect local farmers and encourage massive production of the commodity.

According to him, unchecked importation of maize remains a major threat to local production and President Muhammadu Buhari’s agricultural revolution drive.

He said local farmers must be protected to invest more, so that Nigeria would become self-sufficient in maize production.

“The federal government must set an immediate time scale to ensure that maize is not imported within months, like was done with rice.

“You cannot tell people to go to farm and then allow massive importation of the same thing they are conveniently producing.

“We feel that is insincerity of purpose, and we are telling government that if you allow continuous importation of maize, you are actually working against those you urge to go to the farm.

“The Nigeria farmers group, have 2,000 hectares of maize farm across the nation, and it is still cultivating more,” he said.

Mr. Tedheke noted that some Agro-business firms operating in Nigeria were importing large quantities of maize at relatively “low landing cost.”

He also said that that although maize was not currently on Nigeria’s import prohibition list, there was need to check excessive importation to protect local producers in their quest to grow the economy from within.

“If the Federal Government does not act fast, the localisation of maize production will be lost to importers who may kill local producers, jobs and the economy.

“The current price of locally produced maize is between N130, 000 and N250, 000 per tonne.”

Mr. Tedheke claimed that a company had shipped in huge vessels of maize from abroad to be sold at about N40,000 per tonne.

“If this trend is allowed to continue, it will spell doom for farmers who have battled lack of funding, support and the war with Army worms in maize farming.”

He noted that the cost of imported maize was relatively low because the government of those countries from where they were imported provided necessary support to their farmers.

The coordinator said if the group is properly supported, it has the capacity to produce 50,000 tonnes of maize quarterly.

“The India government, for example, subsidised agriculture by providing tractors, seedlings, funding and other relevant support and that largely reduced the cost of production for its farmers.

“If the Nigerian government does not want the price of locally produced maize to go beyond a certain level, let it subsidise its production in the best interest of our economy.”

NAN reports that the group is a rural community based farming initiative with farms spread across Nigeria and its mission is `farm to feed Nigeria’ and create job in the process.

(NAN)


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  • suleiman

    Just produce enough and export. There is no need to ban importation. Once you can produce enough to feed the 170 million Nigerians, importation of maize will become aunviable. The problem with Nigerian farmers is that once they have a bumper harvest, they call for ban of importation and when there is crop failure the following year they ask for importation. America, the largest economy in the world still imports food from other countries. The farmers should appeal to the government to buy the excess so that they can continue to be viable. When many are starving, you as asking for ban? See what is happening with yam that is now becoming unreachable to the common man because the goverment is encouraging export. In America, when there is crop failure, the government pays the farmer and when there is overproduction, the goverment buys the excess. This is why America is able to send food to starving nations, including Nigeria. Let’s simply stop being selfish and be more caring to our neighbors.

    • Iyanda

      Good talk and may God bless you for the sound analysis. The insincerity in our system is not limited only to politicians and Civil Servants. This may be a ploy by this farmers to create scarcity so that price goes up, then they reap the benefit while the end users of maize suffer. I hope government is smart enough not to play into their hands.

  • Tommy Soto

    A very smart request by the farmers. Good to seem them seeking self sufficiency in the food sector.

  • Babajide

    Poultry farms are already folding up with attendant job losses due to the high cost of maize in the country as local maize production cannot meet the rising demand.

  • Ezomon Ehichioya

    Just look at the price differential between local and foreign produced maize: “The current price of locally produced maize is between N130, 000 and N250, 000 per tonne.” Mr. Tedheke claimed that a company had shipped in huge vessels of maize from abroad to be sold at about N40,000 per tonne. So, what the maize farmers want is monopoly in order to control the price. If government listens to them, maize will be hitting between N300,000 and N400,000 per tonne by 2018.