March 20, 2021

Stakeholders speak on release of 300, 000mt of maize under Anchor Borrowers Programme

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Stakeholders in the maize value chains have continued to bare their minds on the release of 300,000 metric tonnes of maize into the market under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The programme, which is being executed through collaboration with players like AFEX Commodities Exchange Ltd, is expected to reduce the high price of maize and put a halt to reprehensible and speculative activities of middlemen and bandits.

Speaking with Vanguard, the Vice President of Nigeria Agribusiness Group, NABG, Emmanuel Ijewere, said that the quality of seeds given to maize farmers should be looked into as that will translate into the yield per hectare.

While expressing satisfaction over the release of the 30,000 metric tonnes of maize to the poultry industry by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme, he urged the poultry association to be good off-takers of maize and soya.

Emmanuel Ijewere said to bring down the price of maize, “the first and foremost thing to provide is the quality of the seed, second is the practice, knowledge of the farmer which now translates to the yield per hectare.”

He noted that Nigeria has one of the lowest yields, “so let’s start from there. The CBN must ensure that the right seeds are given to the farmers, and also ensure the farmers are trained or advised on what to do and also increase the yield. The yield in Nigeria is very low and all those translate to a very cost of maize.

“And you have another issue, which is logistics, before logistics you have preservation, there’s too much maize, indeed many of our produce that get lost due to mishandling at the beginning you have all kinds of aflatoxin that destroy some of them so they don’t get to the market and those that do get to the market become expensive.

Ijewere said the Central Bank of Nigeria needs to come in during the harvesting and preservation of the maize, “that is where the CBN’s Anchor Borrower scheme comes in, linking up the off-taker of the maize with the farmer because the higher the yield, the more quantity that can get to the off-takers warehouse the cheaper it is per unit.
But to redress the shortcomings in poultry farming, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently made good its promise to release 300,000 metric tonnes of maize into the Nigerian market, however in tranches.

He said “The other issue we need to consider is the poultry association, the poultry association needs to put its house in order in the sense that they should be within their association be good off-takers of maize and soya and all those their general goods and group themselves up graphically, get professionals to help them store their maize and soya.

“And the buyer and off-taker from those professionals who are looking after this unless you can do this professionally like they do in Brazil or other countries we can never bring down the cost of maize.

He added “Central Bank is doing its best but there is a limit to what they can do, the private sector needs to play its role heavily in this.

“Though CBN is more involved in funding, therefore, the private sector should stop complaining about the central bank and play its role of partnering with the central bank. they used to have the problem of funding, now the funding is available but the private sector does not seem to be organized enough.

“So many groups in the private sector are working in silos and are unable to come together. There is great hope in all this.”

Also commenting on the 300,000 metric tonnes of maize released into the Nigerian market by CBN, the National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, said, “I find this very exhilarating and I applaud the CBN for it.

“If the CBN releases its stock and the price of maize comes down as a result then the Poultry feed prices will come down and so poultry farmers will have a sigh of relief judging from the current prohibitive cost of the energy component of poultry feed.

“The spirit of the Guaranteed Minimum Price, GMP, will come to play in cushioning the hike of prices as the core mandate of the scheme.

“The CBN gesture further reinforces the efficacy of the Anchor Borrower Programme, ABP.

“The lower the cost of feed, the lower the cost of poultry production therefore the customers should get affordable prices for the poultry products and the corresponding profitability for poultry producers is also assured.”

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The Chief Executive Officer of Izegbuwa Farms Limited, Chief Patrick Eholor, said,

“Sincerely as a farmer and a Nigerian, I am encouraged with this intervention effort by the CBN. It will help to ameliorate rising market prices for maize. This is a positive start in finding lasting solutions to critical national concern.

“However, if the challenge of food prices would be solved, stakeholders should come to the table and work out sustainable solutions.

“If we are going to solve these food prices, we all must come to the table to address the root cause of these challenges and work towards sustainable solutions for farmers, feed millers, fish and poultry farmers, and all other stakeholders.

“The CBN facilitating the release of the 300,000 tonnes of maize, leveraging support from credible players in the ecosystem, including its team at AFEX, the CBN would offer over 35,000 farmers and agro-processors a channel through which they could trade maize at a subsidized rate, and thereby reduce the adverse effect of the maize price hike, increase local demand, and improve farmers’ livelihoods.

“I commend President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele for their selfless efforts in stabilizing the agribusiness industry.

But Alphonsus Enang of the National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria, NPPAN, wants the CBN should pay more attention to the activities of those involved in the Anchor Borrowers’ Program for the country to have sustainable food security.

He said, “I know the CBN arrived at the 300,000 MT of maize based on money released to the scheme to produce maize. Since the Anchors went to the field, has the CBN found out the problems the anchors encountered?

“Flood, drought, unwholesome planting materials supplied by input dealers, lack of access roads to bring out harvested crops and very importantly herdsmen attacks and destruction of farms and crops by cattle.

“Ask the anchors and they will tell you the problems on the field. The price of maize has moved from N50, 000 in 2015 to N160, 000 in 2021 and here we are talking about price stability.

“In all these, the smallholder poultry farmers who are scattered across the country are the worst hit, they are just farming as a passion, not for profit. In my village a broiler of two kg is still being priced at N2, 000 while it costs an average of N2, 250 to raise the same broiler.

“We should face the fact, herdsmen and Boko Haram attacks have driven farmers away from large farmlands which are located far from home for fear of attacks. Solve the insecurity problem, and then farmers will return to the farm.”

Vanguard News Nigeria