Price of maize is heading for a crash with the impending release of 300,000 metric tonnes into Nigerian market from strategic anchors under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Billed for release next month, watchers are of the view that it will bring down the current price from N155,000 per metric tonne.
The anticipated release follows moves by the CBN, working with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in the last quarter of 2020, to facilitate import waivers to four agro-processing companies to import 262,000 tonnes of maize to bridge the shortfall in production and augment local production.
With the release of 300,000 metric tonnes in February 2021, it is expected that the prices of maize in the Nigerian market would drop significantly, thereby increasing demand for the crop and ultimately enhancing the gains of maize farmers. Prior to the CBN-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.
The National President of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Alhaji Bello Abubakar, in a chat with newsmen in Abuja, attributed the current shortfall in the quantity of maize available in the market to insecurity around the major maize producing belt of Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and part of Kano states.
Dr. Edwin Uche, a prime anchor under maize production, corroborated this position, adding that banditry, drought in some parts of the country in 2020 and activities of middlemen were responsible for the current high price. He expressed confidence 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. He expressed optimism about the price crashing to N120,000 per metric tonne in the next couple of days.