CBN to release 300,000mt of maize in February

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through its anchor borrowers’ programme is set to release about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize into the Nigerian market by February.

In a statement released on Monday, the apex bank said this is expected to help reduce the prices of the product, increase demand and enhance the profits of maize farmers.

Maize currently sells at N155,000 per metric tonne.

The CBN has been collaborating with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in the last quarter of 2020, to facilitate import waivers for four agro-processing companies to import 262,000 tonnes of maize to bridge the shortfall in production and augment local production.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Bello Abubakar, national president of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) blamed insecurity around the major maize producing belt of Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and some parts of Kano for contributing to the insufficiency of the product in the market.

On his part, Edwin Uche, national president, Maize Growers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN), said banditry, drought in some parts of the country in 2020 and activities of middlemen are responsible for the current high price.

He explained 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 significantly enhance production and ensure stability in price.

“As part of the Bank’s financing framework, the CBN has facilitated the funding of maize farmers and processors through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) Commodity Association, Private/Prime Anchors, State Governments, Maize Aggregation Scheme (MAS), and the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS), ” the statement read.

Confirming the release of credit to its members by the apex bank, Abubakar said that over 200,000 farmers are aiming to to produce more than 25 million metric tonnes of maize in the 2020/2021 planting season.

According to him, the credit is disbursed to members along the maize value chain, located in different states of the country.

He charged the federal government to put in place a mechanism to protect farmers from market triggered shocks.