Farmers commence loan repayment
As part of its loan repayment under the Anchor Borrower Program (ABP) for 2021 wet season farming, the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) is erecting a maize pyramid in Kaduna state.
The maize which was sourced from across the country is the second pyramid erected by the maize farmers since the commencement of the ABP in 2015.
The National President of MAAN, Dr Abubakar Bello said the pyramid was to showcase the successes of the ABP
He said the pyramid which is the first of its kind in Nigeria is part of loan repayment of maize farmers to the Central Bank of Nigeria for 2021 wet season farming.
“We want to set up this pyramid in order to showcase the success and the achievement of the Anchor Borrower Program under President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Also, we want to showcase what we have done and to acknowledge what Mr President has done to maize farmers in Nigeria, we also want to show the effort and appreciation of all maize farmers in Nigeria.
“I want to appreciate the effort and support of the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who embraced this program and promised to support us, we have seen the reality.
“The number of pyramids to be erected will be determined by the space we have here. The loan repayment is for the 2021 wet season”, he said.
Speaking on the high cost of maize, Dr Bello said the COVID-19 pandemic was a contributory factor because input production companies could not produce due to movement restrictions.
He said maize production increased to 20 million metric tons in 2020 against 8 million metric tons that were being produced as of 2015 before the introduction of ABP.
“The issue of the high price of food is something that is not only for maize because if you look at the statistics of FAO, but there will also be a shortage of food by the end of 2021, there will be a high price of other commodities.
“The price of maize is even better than the price of other commodities, it is a global issue, it is not only in Nigeria.
“Another factor that contributed to the high cost of maize is COVID-19 in 2019 and 2020, because the inputs that is being produced so many countries in the world were produced in 2019 and 2020, there was scarcity of inputs that farmers will use in their farms, even the mechanization equipment were very scarce due to Covid-19, something a farmer will buy for N1500 is now N4000., and the cost of production increased.
“Before this administration came in, in 2015, we only had 8 million tons of maize, but by the end of 2020, it was 20 million tons and apart from that, farmers now have access to inputs without their money but as a loan, they get the technology under the ABP.
“Where farmers are getting 20 tons of maize, now they are getting 50 tons of maize, there is a new technology of farming, there are extension services under ABP, mechanization and monitoring and evaluation, the farmers are benefiting and they have increased their production.
“The maize mills we have in the country have increased, the processors have more companies now, they now employ more people, these are the success stories of the ABP. In one season more than one million people get jobs under ABP”, he said.
The Commissioner of Agriculture, Kaduna State, Ibrahim Hussaini said the pyramid is symbolic and will go a long way in convincing Nigerians that the CBN program and the association are ensuring that Nigeria achieves self-sufficiency in food production.