The Maize Association of Nigeria on Monday, pledged to continually support the Federal Government’s agricultural policies and programmes.
Dr Bello Abubakar, National President, made the pledge in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.
According to Abubakar, the association will support the government “once the policy and programmes are geared towards ensuring Nigeria attain food security and food sufficiency’’.
He said that the recent ban on importation of maize had increased the demand from local farmers.
Abubakar added that the association would support maize farmers with the best available inputs and technical support to boost maize production.
“We will begin dry season farming at a commercial level to scale up production to bridge the deficit occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic, floods and drought in some parts of the country.
“MAAN’s target is to cultivate maize all over the country in the dry season to ensure that the crop is available all year round,’’ he said.
Abubakar said if farmers are able to cultivate all-round the year, they will make more profit, remain self-reliant and repay their loans with ease.
He noted that the impact of dry season farming on the Nigerian economy would boost production and increase revenue.
Dry season farming, according to him, will also enhance the local economy and enable cottage industries to grow across the country.
“All these will culminate into Nigerians growing what they eat at a time they need to eat and MAAN, in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, is ready to make it a reality.’’
The MAAN president said the association was targeting to produce 22 million metric tons of maize during 2020 wet season farming.
With all plans on the ground and with the steady support of the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers Programme, he said the target was achievable.
He remarked that maize had the potential of becoming a ‘wonder crop’ and the miracle that all farmers and consumers were looking for.
Abubakar said that the association had keyed into the CBN Anchor Borrowers programme since 2018 till date, adding that it had positively impacted on maize production in Nigeria.
He reiterated the association’s resolve to work with the Federal Government towards formulating standard and stable agriculture policy for the country.
He advised the government to engage all relevant stakeholders to design a new road map for agriculture from 2020 to 2030.
The association president commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the bold and strategic decision to ban maize importation.
He described the move as a step in the right direction towards attaining food security.