The Amana Farmers and Grain Suppliers Association of Nigeria (AFGSAN) has said that Federal Government’s decision to allow maize importation will undermine local production of the commodity. The group noted that farmers in the country were set to reap a bumper harvest in maize during the 2020 wet season farming.
It expressed dissatisfaction with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s approval obtained by some companies for the import of maize into the country. CBN approved an emergency importation of 262,000 tons of maize, to cushion the blow occasioned by scarcity of the commodity. Chairman of the association, Alhaji Haruna-Ahmed Pambegua, in a chat with newsmen, said that government’s decision was retrogressive, coming at a time harvesting of local maize had commenced in some parts of the country.
He said: “The importation would make some farmers lose their investment, which will also discourage many farmers from going into farming in the next farming season. “We are not in support of border re-opening to import maize or any other farm produce into Nigeria.” On the hike in price of maize, Pambeguwa noted that it was as a result of difficulties occasioned by COVID-19. He asserted that food prices were even low in Nigeria when compared to some other countries. The chairman, however, restated that his association remained optimistic that farmers would have a bumper harvest in this wet season farming. He also assured that the prices of food items would decrease, while appealing to government at all levels to support farmers with lowinterest loans and fertilizers, among other interventions.
These interventions, he said, would impact positively on small and large scale farmers across the country. CBN, through its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, had released N16 billion for farmers to boost maize farming in this year’s wet season.