The Prevailing Maize Glut In Nigeria and Its Imminent Outcomes, By ACASI
By the last quarter of 2017, our fact findings have it that more than two foreign owned companies are on their 30th shipload of Nigeria bound maize due to compete with the home grown maize valued by the millers and processors at an average meagre sum of N80,000 per metric tonne. It is clear…that this…are often contributory…(to) the…impoverishment of smallholders….
It appears that with recovering and growing the economy comes a core requirement of confronting the evident hydra-headed internal and external economic sabotage and saboteurs across every industry and sector of the Nigerian socio-economy, agriculture inclusive. This brings to mind the possibility of Nigeria’s over 190 milliom populace, its 93 million hectares of arable lands, flowing fresh waters and favourable climate being a curse, as she fails in her capacity to be reckoned as a base of vast human capital and food source for the entire sub-region (When productively translated).
In consideration of the rapid rise in the poultry industry (sequel to the ban on poultry imports) and the enormous poultry feed markets, which necessitate a standard 70 percent maize input in raw materials, that in itself proves how significant this is. Maize availability cannot be undermined as amongst focal staple crops that are topping the chart and are imperative to attaining food security.
Owing to the maize product and the recent market happenings – precisely due to a lack of commensurate markets with fair pricing when matched with the cost of cultivation and post-harvest inputs, and also from analysing the forces at play, there is an established glut, which has hereby resulted in an outcry for the matter to be promptly addressed.
By the last quarter of 2017, our fact findings have it that more than two foreign owned companies are on their 30th shipload of Nigeria bound maize due to compete with the home grown maize valued by the millers and processors at an average meagre sum of N80,000 per metric tonne. It is clear to every eye that this sort of economic actions are often contributory factors responsible for the potential impoverishment of smallholders and eventual discouragement of local production, self-sufficiency and, in turn, a wholesome import over-dependence, with this same scenario applicable to a broad range of other staple food crops.
One aggrieved stakeholder passionately stated that:
“ (One of the really prominent Indian-led farming conglomerates in the country) has seven vessels loaded with maize, imported with the sole aim of killing Nigerian producers, jobs and the Nigerian economy. The current price in Nigeria is between N130,000 and N250,000 per ton with local production. The current landing cost of the maize (the company) is importing is N40,000/ton. If allowed, the action will spell doom for farmers who have battled lack of funding; the ineptitude of government agencies; and the continuing war with army worms in this current farming season.”
With the above assertion, we cannot afford to continually, on one hand, say we shall grow food internally, only to keep importation on an all-time parallel high. That does not only make for a disconcerting conflict of interest, it also keeps us as import slaves. This act invariably exposes the employment of the labour of foreign farmers and jobs exportation to competitors who have been freely incentivised and granted with inputs from effectual and proactive governments, improved seedlings, mechanisation, extension services, markets, irrigation, all other necessary technical and scientific support, and world class infrastructure, making for convenient transportation logistics, amidst time-bound procedures.
How do we honestly hope to compete favourably with such persons/concerns? How do we attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals numbers 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 15, and the World Bank citation on social inclusion? With this development, can we honestly say that our smallholders are being treated fairly?
Such tolerance by the government and her regulators runs against the grain of the United Nations’ FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) support programmes and the federal government principles on agriculture, food security and rural development.
…we acknowledge and appreciate the ongoing strides towards building rail tracks and other noteworthy road infrastructure to conveniently haul goods from our rural communities, but even more important is the need for the generation of structured markets for agriculture in Nigeria.
On another note, local traders and smallholders in our network from Kaduna and Niger states, who have on several occasions sought favourable markets to no avail and whose funds are tied to their goods as a result of market absence, are left in a really frustrating bind.
At such a time as this, during a phase of economic diversification and primarily with the implementation of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), local production of food staples such as maize and a proper development of the product across its aggregating chain, is imperative to the attainment of food security in the country.
Alongside, we acknowledge and appreciate the ongoing strides towards building rail tracks and other noteworthy road infrastructure to conveniently haul goods from our rural communities, but even more important is the need for the generation of structured markets for agriculture in Nigeria.
In obedience to the diversification mantra and in line with the given directive, the Social Inclusion Team of ACASI hereby urges the government to live up to its responsibilities and mantra of self-sufficiency.
This is an affirmative action and a clarion call to his excellency, the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; the chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture; the chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture; the honorable minister of Agriculture, the Ministry of Transportation; the Ministry of Works and Housing; the Nigeria Ports Authority; the Nigerian Customs; the Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) and all affiliate stakeholders, to inclusively cooperate by getting down to the drawing board and acting on this immediately. Our people are suffering, and investments in agriculture are getting hampered. This is the time to act to prove otherwise.
- A win-win subsidy model should be structured, where the government, the people and farmers become mutual partners in
- Timely monetary policies suitable to the time-bound nature of Agriculture should be designed and implemented;
- An inter-agency structure, inclusive of a tax force to stop this menace, should be set up, to save jobs in Nigeria, and boost
agricultural practices, for an enhanced food security system;
- The improvement of infrastructural development should be made a strategic priority in our rural farming communities;
- Lasting security solutions to the killer herders/farmers squabbles shoiuld be created promptly;
- There should be strict border control on land, in the air and at the sea ports, but however not an immediate embargo enforcement, as this will encourage a smuggling culture of the said commodity. Or rather, there should be the imposition of, say, duties amounting to about 200 percent, which will generate revenue for the government that will, in turn, directly incentivise our smallholder farmers, more so to discontinue the embargo which has often led to the existence of black markets and fraudulent activities in our public space;
- Farmers must be empowered with agricultural inputs, especially with improved climate smart seedlings, ahead of every farming
- There needs to be improved information dissemination on government policies and support programmes to the Nigerian people.
This piece is from the Social Inclusion Team of the African Centre of Agriculture and Social Inclusion (ACASI).