• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Flood, insecurity threaten Nigeria’s maize production

Flood, insecurity threaten Nigeria’s maize production

The Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has identified drought, flood and insecurity as major threat to the country’s 2022 maize production.

Bello Abubakar, national president of the association, made this disclosure during a meeting with maize farmers and stakeholders on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s anchor borrowers loan recovery drive.

According to him, the recent farming seasons has not been without some level of challenges as maize farmers experienced drought, flood, covid-19, insecurity (Banditry, kidnappers, Boko Haram etc) which affected production.

He said, “insecurity affected farmers in some areas, farmers couldn’t go to the farm while in other places those who were able to farm were either made to pay high taxes to the insurgents and Bandits, out rightly kidnapped for ransom or have their farms burnt despite paying what was demanded.

“Also, late disbursement of intervention fund which led to late distribution of inputs to farmers and non-payment of insurance claims by the insurance companies are part of the challenges being faced by farmers.

He, however, stressed that despite all the challenges, the loans collected under the anchor borrowers scheme must be repaid adding that the association has taken very strict measures to ensure full repayment of these loans.

According to the CBN, over three million farmers benefited from N791 billion loan disbursed under the scheme.

The meeting which provided the platform to review the impact of the loan on food security, had farmers from Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states as well as farmers from four North West states of Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Jigawa.

Noting the objective of the loan, he said the loan was designed to support smallholder farmers to boost production and create jobs through agriculture.

According to Abubakar, “despite the border closure by the Nigerian government and effects of the COVID-19 lockdown Nigeria still had food.

“When the president closed the border, he said we must produce what we eat and eat what we produce, despite the closure we ate what we produced especially maize.”

Read also: Edo supports poultry farmers to produce 10,000 birds daily

“Before the borders could be reopened, the issue of COVID-19 came up and there was lockdown globally, so we spent about 2 years without food importation and there’s no food insecurity,

“Even with the ban on maize importation and there was outcry in some quarters about the scarcity of maize, we stepped up and produced and now we have enough and even excess maize”.

According to him, the loan has gone a long way in ensuring Nigeria attains its national maize demands, increased the number of fertilizer blending plants due to increased demand for fertilizer by farmers, increased the number of maize processing mills and significantly contributed to the growth of the country’s GDP.

In his remark, Mahmood Nyako, zonal coordinator, North East Zone Development Finance Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) urged the association particularly the state chairmen to seek realistic measures to repay the loans, Noting that for the anchor borrowers programme to continue and be sustained the loans taken need to be repaid.

The representative of the Bank of Agriculture, Kano, Ummah Sanusi while appreciating the effort of the Association, said that some farmers had taken the loan as their share of Nigeria’s commonwealth (National Cake).

She noted that the meeting has created a sense of hope as it shows the level of commitment of the association to repay the loans.