The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has put strategic programs in place to help reduce the current price of maize in the country.
In a statement released by the Central Bank of Nigeria in Abuja, titled ‘Price of maize set to crash’, the Apex Bank explained that the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), set up, will release about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize into the Nigerian market.
With the release of 300,000 metric tonnes in February 2021, 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.
The planned release 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.
Prior to the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Custom Service 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 subsidized rate.
Revealing the reason for the shortfall in the quantity of maize available in the market, the National President of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) Alhaji Bello Abubakar, in a chat with news men in Abuja, said:
“The current shortfall in the quantity of maize available in the market, can be attributed to the insecurity around the major maize producing belt of Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and part of Kano states.”
He also identified the activities of hoarders and middlemen who engage in hoarding of the grain.
Also speaking with news men in the same vein, Dr. Edwin Uche, a prime anchor under the maize production, noted that banditry, drought in some parts of the country in 2020 and activities of middlemen are responsible for the current high price.
However, he was of the opinion that planned dry season farming, timely distribution of inputs to farmers and improved security, would go a long way to enhance production and ensure stability in price.
Moreover, another major stakeholder in the maize production, Mr. Ayodeji Balogun of AFEX, attributed the hike in price to cash-flow problem of farmers which has compel farmers to resort to collecting cash from buyers ahead of production and resort to side-selling, especially across the borders of neighbouring countries due to higher prices.