From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The federal government has been urged to set time line to ban the importation of maize into the country, as unchecked importation of the produce is a major threat to local production.
National Coordinator of Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS), Redson Tedheke, told Daily Sun in Abuja that the suspension of import would not only protect local farmers but also encourage massive production of the commodity.
“The federal government must set an immediate time scale to ensure that maize is not imported within months, as was done about rice. You cannot tell people to go to farm and then allow massive importation of the same thing they are conveniently producing.
“We feel there 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 group stated.
Tedheke, who claimed the group, has 2,000 hectares of maize farm across the nation, and still cultivating more, noted that some agro-business firms operating in Nigeria were importing large quantities of maize at relatively “low landing cost,” because of support from the exporting countries.
Although maize was not currently on the nation’s import prohibition list, he averred that there was need to check excessive importation.
To buttress their fears, the group which said the current price of locally produced maize is between N130, 000 and N250, 000 per tonne, alleged that an unnamed company had shipped in huge vessels of maize from abroad and was about to crash the price to N40, 000 per tonne.