President Buhari okays 5000MT of maize for farmers at subsidised rate

Amid complaints, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of 5000 metric tonnes of maize from the Strategic Grains Reserve to the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) at a subsidised rate of N90,000.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), recently, removed importers of the grain from its forex list, resulting in price hike of N170,000 per metric tonne.

The Minster of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, announced the good news from a letter issued by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

The poultry industry accounts for about 27 per cent of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) of the economy and provides some 20 million direct and indirect employments.

The minister assured the farmers of immediate compliance with the presidential directive to salvage the sector’s N10 trillion investments.

In the same vein, the CBN has sanctioned four firms to import 262,000MT of the cereal from August through October this year.

The lucky establishments are Wacot Limited, 60,000 metric tonnes; Chi Farms Limited, 60,000; Crown Flour Mills, 22,000; and Premier Feeds Mills Limited, 120,000 tonnes.

The designated banks to process Form Ms for the imports are Citi Bank and Titan Trust bank for Wacot; Tatan Trust Bank for Chi Farms; Coronation Bank for Crown Flour Mills; and Zenith Bank for Premier Feeds Mills.

A document issued by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Tariff and Trade Department, Abuja, on August 6, with reference number, NCS/T&T/I&E/021/S.93/VolXMI, and signed by Deputy Comptroller-General (T&T), stated: “In line with the government policy on food security, 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 in the quantities stated below: ….”

On August 27,2020, The Guardian had reported that the CBN insisted that there was no going back amid appeals by farmers and millers to give a three-month window for importation of the crop to save the industry.

The apex bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, had said his organisation was not considering a reversal despite mounting pressure.

A former chairman, PAN, Oyo State, John Olateru, said the concession to a “few foreign companies would only entrench disparity between local and foreign players in the sector.”