The recent move by the Nigeria government to restrict FX access for importers of maize will drive investments into the maize subsector, experts in the agricultural sector say.
The experts who commended the apex bank for its recent restriction of Form X for maize importers say the move was necessary to create markets for farmers and encourage investment opportunities in the maize value chain.
“It will encourage investments in the maize value chain as more investors will focus on the subsector, thus employment will generated and famer’s livelihoods will be positively impacted” Tunji Adetona, former national president, maize Association of Nigeria said.
About 60% of Nigeria’s maize is used for the production of poultry feeds, 25% is used-up by the food and beverage industry and remaining are consumed by households, experts say.
Poultry farmers who spend 70% of their production costs have been worst hit by the sudden and speedy rise in maize prices.
Ayodeji Balogun, country manager, AFEX Commodities Exchange Ltd, says “We cannot continue to import maize on the detriment of our farmers. We know the situation is difficult at the moment but it will only be for short-term.”
He said the country has what it takes to grow enough volume of maize that is required for consumption.
According to him, Nigeria has been increasing its maize production in recent years, but the intensifying effects of climate change experienced in 2019 led to a 25% cut in the country’s yearly production.
The apex bank argued that the recent FX restriction for importers of the grain is part of its measure to protect the local production of the grain, stimulate rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods and increase job creation in the country, especially amid the covid-19 pandemic.
Maize is the leading cereal grown in Nigeria, closely followed by sorghum and rice, and can be grown in all states of the country.
Nigeria is Africa’s second largest maize grower after South Africa, churning out about 10.5 million metric tons per annum with a demand of 15 million metric tons, leaving a supply-demand gap of 4.5 million tons per annum, according to data from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
Business Day, August 5, 2020
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