Recent findings on Wednesday showed that the price of one tonne of maize sold for N160,000 and had remained stable in the past four months despite importation approval.
Despite the importation of 262,000 tonnes of maize approved by the Federal Government to manage the production shortfall, the effort has failed to crash the price of the maize produced locally.
Farmers under the Maize Growers and Processing Association of Nigeria have argued that the 262,000 tonnes of imported maize would not crash the price of maize produced locally.
The president of the association, Dr Edwin Uche, stated that the price of maize before COVID-19, N100,000 per tonne, had increased by 60 per cent due to the challenges faced by farmers during the lockdown in April.
According to Uche, the farmers’ group was working hard and taking advantage of the government intervention to ensure that maximum output and good quality maize were harvested.
He said, “Considering the volume that was approved for importation, we don’t see it really affecting the price as we expect the price to be a bit stable. We fought strongly to ensure that the importation is curtailed to some extent.
“The price of maize has been a bit high in the past four months due to the COVID-19 and associated challenges faced by farmers. There has been a slowdown in agricultural activities, which affected the output.
“We want to make sure that we sustain a price ceiling that will ensure that farmers will earn value for their farm activities.
“We don’t expect the farmers to cultivate without making profit. We expect them to make profit and be comfortable to support industrial production and other demands.”
Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria had extended foreign exchange restriction to importation of maize/corn, making it 44 items affected by its forex restriction policy.
In a circular to all authorised dealers and the general public, the apex bank explained that the forex restriction on maize aimed to increase local production of the commodity, stimulate economic recovery, protect the livelihoods of rural farmers and provide employment.
It can be recalled that after appeals from stakeholders, four companies were selected to import 262,000 tonnes of the products and allowed to source for foreign exchange through different banks.