From Uche Usim, Abuja
The price of maize is about to crash as 300,000 metric tonnes of the commodity is to be released into the Nigerian market in February from strategic anchors under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
It is expected that the price of maize would drop from the current N155,000 per metric tonne.
The planned release, according to the apex bank, follows moves made by the critical stakeholders, working with relevant government and security agencies, to put a halt to reprehensible and speculative activities of middlemen and bandits respectively.
“With the release of 300,000 metric tonnes, it is expected that the prices of maize in the Nigerian market will drop significantly, thereby increasing demand for the crop and ultimately enhancing the gains of maize farmers. Prior to the CBN and Nigeria Custom Service , NCS,’ collaboration, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the release of 30,000 tonnes of maize from the National Strategic Grain Reserve to support the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) at a subsidised rate”, said the apex bank.
In a chat with journalists in Abuja, the National President of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Alhaji Bello Abubakar, attributed the current shortfall in the quantity of maize available at the market to include insecurity around the major maize producing belt of Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and part of Kano states. Bello also identified the activities of hoarders and middlemen who engage in hoarding of the grain.
Speaking in the same vein, a prime anchor under the maize production, Dr. Edwin Uche, noted that banditry, drought in some parts of the country in 2020 and activities of middlemen are responsible for the current high price.
He however opined that the planned dry season farming which is first of its kind in the country, timely distribution of inputs to farmers and improved security, would go a long way to enhance production and ensure stability in price.