By Arobonlo Israel
Nigeria has joined the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s edition of World Maize Day with the theme: “Towards enabling self-sufficiency in maize production”.
Chief Executive Officer, Fempanath Nigeria Limited, Olukayode Olaitan in his goodwill message, congratulated Nigerians on the 2021 edition of the World Maize Day, which is celebrated November 26 every year.
According to him, Maize Day is important because, “the crop (maize) has fed and nourished many generations of human civilisation and continues to be a vital part of our Global Food System”.
Olaitan believed maize production must increase three-fold in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria in particular to meet the needs of future generations.
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“Sustainably increasing maize production will require a portfolio of complementary technologies and policies. On this day, we highlight some challenges to achieve this improvement. Improved nutritional density of maize in farmers’ fields and increased adoption of new varieties and faster varietal replacement.”
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to give attention to the standards of farmers by getting applicable simple machines to help them (small scale farmers) improve maize productivity.
“Nigeria which is the 11th largest producer of maize in the world is producing 10 times more maize yearly now than it did at independence in 1960, data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows.
“Nigeria recorded a boost in the production of maize which rose from 12.8 to 13.94 million metric tons between 2020 and 2021. But despite being the largest producer of the commodity in Africa, farmers are worried that cheaper maize imported from other African countries will crash the price in the country’s market and also limit their share of the larger African market,” he stated.
He added; “A lot of maize farmers felt demoralised when the borders were reopened because they had cultivated with a high cost of inputs and they were confident that they would sell, knowing the borders were closed. But now that the borders are opened, it has negative implications for farmers.
“Also, in spite of the high production in recent years, Nigeria has not met domestic and industrial demands.
“We however want to call for a subsidy policy regime for maize farmers in Nigeria. With this policy, we expect more investment in the maize farming industry and with such investment we don’t expect anything less.”