Nigeria moves to release 300,000 metric tonnes of maize by Feb to ease demand pressure, price
By Samuel Bankole
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday said about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize will be released into the Nigerian market from strategic anchors under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) in a bid to crash the current price of maize from N155,000 per metric tonne.
In a statement, the regulatory bank said the move follows its collaboration 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.
The CBN said the 300,000 metric tonnes of Maize which will be released in February, is expected to drive down the prices of maize in the market significantly.
The measure, the regulatory bank said will also raise 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 subsidized rate.
The National President of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) Bello Abubakar, attributed the current shortfall in the quantity of maize available in 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.
Edwin Uche also said that banditry, drought in some parts of the country in 2020 and activities of middlemen are responsible for the current high price of maize in the country.
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.
He expressed optimism about the price crashing to N120,000 per metric tonne in the next couple of days.
The CBN said it had provided credit facility and seed support to maize farmers, to enable them to increase their yield, particularly due to the challenge posed by the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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).