Some maize farmers under the umbrella of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its new policy restricting access to foreign exchange for maize imports.
The association said the apex bank acted in the best interest of the economy, urging farmers to explore the opportunities presented by the restrictions to increase production capacity.
The president of the association, Mr Abubakar Bello-Anuur, while speaking at a news conference in Abuja, listed the achievement and the headwinds faced during the last planting season and what lies ahead for this year’s season.
According to him, though the association was targeting about 25 million metric tonnes of maize production in this year’s planting season, this might suffer about 25 per cent reduction due to COVID-19 pandemic.
He said maize farmers have cultivated about 250,000 hectares of maize in this year’s wet farming season.
Recently, CBN added maize to an exclusive list of over 40 items banned from importation, calling on forex dealers to discontinue the processing of Forms M expeditiously.
“As part of efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase local production, stimulate a rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods, and increase jobs which were lost as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Authorised Dealers are hereby directed to discontinue the processing of Forms M for the importation of Maize/Corn with immediate effect.
“Accordingly, all Authorised Dealers are hereby requested to submit the list of Forms M already registered for the importation of Maize/Corn using the attached format on or before the close of business on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Please ensure strict compliance,” the central bank had said in a circular last week.
Despite the applause that the policy has gotten from stakeholders, there have been critics who kick against the ban, saying it will likely affect the poultry business, as farmers cannot meet up with demand yet, which means the price of the commodity will increase.