By Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
Poultry farmers in Osun has called on the Federal Government to immediately permit the importation of maize to bridge shortage in production before it becomes a major economic crisis in the country.
A statement issued by the Osun Chapter Chairman and Secretary, Chief Oluyemi Olukiran and Dr Alaba Towoju in Osogbo on Sunday, disclosed that the maize price has increased by 100 percent from N97/kg to N160/kg since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
According to the duo, the increase led to a simultaneous increase in the price of compounded feeds over the same period.
The statement titled “MAIZE – An emerging indispensable monster, Plea for most urgent intervention”, disclosed that the commodity remains a 50-60% indispensable part of any reliable, economically productive compound feed, adding that other substitutes were either not available or unsuitable for use.
It also called on the various states governments, the National Assembly, as well as other stakeholders in the agricultural sector to prevail on the FG to lift ban on maize importation to rescue the poultry farming from collapse.
The statement reads in part, “Farmers have been groaning under persistent upward movement of prices of compounded feeds from less than N2,000, 10 weeks ago to an average of N4,000 as at the time of this report (Direct reflection of Maize price form N97/kg to N 160/kg over same period).
“The price increase is further complicated by inavailability, Covid- 19, irregular rains and insurgency in the North is casting unquestionable doubt over maize yields this year as a result of highly reduced planted averages.
“We therefore, sought the immediate permission of importation as a short term recovery effort to bring the subsector (now in comatose) back to its feet The importation will sustain the livestock business to tide over the imminent scarcity which will extend without doubt to 2021.
“Change of strategy in implementing the various existing lofty policies in Agriculture finance. New modes with convincing high success rates should exist to engage structures of Farmers to ensure we get back to years of multiple productivity.
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“The absence of Government Grain Reserve is an indication of failure of existing financing or disbursement) strategies, immediate dialogue with ALL Stakeholders (not only Farmers Association) will bring out the best approach.
“Improvement in budgetary allocation to Productive Agriculture within a Strategic Framework that totally excludes the non-practicing farmers.
“Mechanized farming is good and best in achieving the best results over a short time frame but Nigeria cannot neglect the small scale producers who are not expecting assistance but are not ready to surrender their small land holdings into any land proof not under their control Large scale investors in a PPP arrangement should attracted to take advantage of mechanization where the land could be procured while we still pursue policies that do not render the small scale producers unemployed.
“Deliberate intervention in high yielding maize seed production using existing structures as well as encouraging new investors”.
It therefore urged the federal governments, to in the spirit of good governance and consideration of unpleasant after effects of a total collapse, give room for immediate maize importation, while it source an intermediate or long term solution.