The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society has called on the Federal Government to set a time line to ban the importation of maize into the country.
According to the group’s National Coordinator, Mr. Redson Tedheke who spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN in Abuja, the suspension of the import would protect local farmers and encourage massive production of the commodity.
Mr. Tedheke said unchecked importation of maize remains a major threat to local production and President Muhammadu Buhari’s agricultural revolution drive. He added that local farmers must be protected to invest more so that Nigeria would become self sufficient in producing maize.
In his statement to the press, the coordinator said the federal government must set an immediate time scale to ensure that maize is not imported within months like was done with rice.
“You cannot tell people to go to the farm and then allow massive importation of the same thing they are conveniently producing,” Tedheke said.
“We feel that is insincerity of purpose, and we are telling the government that if you allow continuous importation of maize, you are actually working against those you urge to go to the farm.
“The Nigeria farmers group, have 2,000 hectares of maize farm across the nation, and it is still cultivating more,” he informed, noting that some Agro-business firms operating in Nigeria were importing large quantities of maize at relatively low landing cost.’
Mr. Tedheke pointed that although maize was not currently on Nigeria’s import prohibition list, there was a need to check excessive importation to protect local producers in their quest to grow the economy from within.
Maize is a staple food crop in Nigeria and also the most important as it is eaten in various dishes as well as forms the basis for most of the meals prepared by the average Nigerian family.
As much as it’s a crop cheaper than rice and wheat with potentials to be largely produced within, yet it continues to be one of the many food crops imported in Nigeria. Successful corn production depends on the correct application of production inputs that will sustain the environment as well as agricultural production.
Most people regard maize as a breakfast cereal. However, in a processed form it is also found as fuel (ethanol) and starch. Starch, in turn, involves enzymatic conversion into products such as sorbitol, dextrine, sorbic and lactic acid, and appears in household items such as beer, ice cream, syrup, shoe polish, glue, fireworks, ink, batteries, mustard, cosmetics, aspirin, and paint.