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Sani Ibrahim
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa,University
Agricultural economics and extension
100Level, Nigeria.
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Maize farmers in Nigeria are worried that the approval given to
some companies to import maize into the country may affect
the price of the crop in the market, most especially as the
harvest has begun.
After months of pressure from the poultry farmers and feed
millers to allow maize importation, the federal government
reportedly granted waiver to four companies to import 262,000
metric tons of maize.
The companies are WACOT (with combined 60,000 tonnes),
Chi Farms limited (60,000), Crown Flour Mills (22,000 tonnes)
Premier Feed Mills (120,000) this brings the total import to
262,000 tonnes beginning from August and ending October.
The government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria reversed
earlier its decision to completely ban food importation.
A restricted letter from the Nigeria Customs Service dated
August 6 2020 in that regard partly reads: “In line with
government policy on food security, self-sufficiency and striking
a balance between food imports and local production capacities
to meet anticipated shortfall, the Central Bank of Nigeria has
granted approval for the underlisted companies to import maize.
“Approval is strictly for the four companies.”
Currently, the price of maize remains high (N19,000 to
N21,000 per 100kg) in some markets.
Farmers said they had spent a lot on the inputs and other
activities, expressing fears that they might not be able to
recoup their expenses if the price falls in the market.
John Isah, a large-scale maize farmer in Gauraka the along
Kaduna Road, said allowing importation when the farmers are
about to harvest is worrisome.
‘’I heard about the waiver granted some companies to import
maize. Honestly, this is not the best time to do that.
“If it leads to crash in price of maize in the market, many local
farmers will be affected and that will discourage them in the
next production
,’’ he said.
He said the CBN should have defied the pressure and
continued its local production policy.
Danjuma Ayuba, a maize farmer in Nasarawa State, said the
government should not have granted the waiver at a time
farmers had begun harvesting.
Another farmer, Ibrahim Sunday, said the quantity of rice
allowed to be imported was not so huge to crash the maize
market.
He, however, said the timing was wrong.
The national president of the All Farmers Association of
Nigeria, Ibrahim Kabiru, said the decision to import maize was
absurd and reductive.

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