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Maize importation: CBN saves Nigeria from food crisis

The recent importation of 262,000 metric tonnes of maize has saved Nigeria from a food crisis, poultry farmers said.

The poultry industry, which reportedly lost about N1.5 trillion to the Coronavirus pandemic, said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) took the right step by granting import waivers to four companies.

President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Mr Ibrahim Ezekiel Mam said the import waiver was a follow up to President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention when he granted the association 5,000 metric tons of maize from the country’s strategic grains reserve.

He said PAN was in total support of the maize importation as part of the measures by the Federal Government to bridge the supply gap forced on local farmers by several factors, including flooding, which has ravaged several farms and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PAN President further said: “A lot of damage was done to our farms by Covid-19. Day-old chicks, for instance, were lost due to suffocation as the result of multiple checkpoints on the highways and curfews imposed by the state governments,” adding that farmers had to quickly bury their chicks and bury eggs because the demand and supply chain was affected by the nationwide lockdown.

He explained that the association had to therefore appeal to the government and all stakeholders to ensure the continued operation through an adequate supply of maize and soybeans to the industry at affordable prices. “No economy can operate outside the purchasing power of its citizens,” Pam stated.

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Livestock farmers and feed millers also spoke about how Covid-19 impacted negatively on maize supply, which resulted in an increase in prices. 

For example, a metric ton of maize, which was to N200,000 from N80,000 to N90,000 before the pandemic.

The Kaduna, Dr. Leke Alayande also backed maize importation saying the supply side of the value chain had been adversely affected by numerous problems. 

 “The shortfall must be filled from somewhere, which is why we poultry farmers support the idea of short-term importation so that we can block the demand gap. It is important we do some importation. This is not new. If the price of maize is too high it will also affect the cost of allied sectors like eggs and chicken. There is a need for the government to support the value chain.”

Sunnews

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