Nigeria, like many other African countries that rely on the agricultural sector for their food sustenance and employment generation, is experiencing unfolding events in the country since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the covid-19 outbreak a global pandemic on February 28, 2020. Following the shutdown and the restriction of movement across the states in the country, agricultural production, processing and distribution have been severely affected. One such area which has been adversely affected is the production and processing of maize.
Farmers across the maize value chain, especially those operating in the poultry segment, are experiencing a tough time in finding maize to buy. Maize, which constitutes over 50% of poultry feed, is currently very scarce and prices are rising every day. The scarcity of maize and the continuous rise in its cost has dire consequences on not only the poultry farmers but on all associated sectors that are linked directly or indirectly to the poultry value chain.
According to Alfred Mrakpor, the Delta State Chairman of Poultry Association of Nigeria in an earlier report shows the plight of poultry farmers, stating that “The rising cost of maize is threatening the livelihood of small businesses in Nigeria”. It is not only poultry farmer’s investment that is threatened but also other players in the value chain, such as feed producers, chicken and egg vendors, processors, grain traders, veterinary doctors and other related sectors.
The CBN has stopped the issuance of form M to discontinue the importation of maize in an effort to increase local production in the country, stimulate rapid recovery, safeguard rural livelihood and grow jobs. This implementation of CBN puts immediate and significant pressure on the sector already burdened with the scarcity of maize, a fallout of the adverse effects of the covid-19 pandemic.
Maize is considered the second most consumed cereal in the country next to cassava. The importance of maize can be seen directly in the total area currently under cultivation in Nigeria.
At the beginning of the farming season, maize sold for between N70, 000 and N80, 000 per ton. Its current selling price is between N165, 000 and N175, 000 per ton, which is now considered very high. The projection is that the price will rise further to about N200, 000 per ton in the coming months.
Business Day, July 23, 2020
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