The Poultry Association of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to lift the ban on maize importation as the country’s current production status cannot meet the industrial demands.
The Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria in a bid to increase local production as well as stimulate a rapid economic recovery had directed all authorised importers to immediately discontinue the processing of Forms M for maize/corn importation into the country.
Despite efforts of the government to ameliorate the effect of maize grain price hike and scarcity through the approved release of 300,000MT maize grains from the Strategic Grains Reserve, poultry farmers have decried the level of shortage.
The Director General, Poultry Association of Nigeria, Onallo Akpa made this call on Friday while featuring on the Newsday Show on Arise TV.
He said that the reason for seeking approval to import the 1.5 million metric tons is not to undermine the local production of maize as it will not affect the domestic market but to sustain the gains of poultry farmers.
He said, “The continued shortage of maize is a serious issue that threatens national food security, considering the population size. We must look at it holistically.
“The needs of our members are high, some poultry uses up to 1,000 metric tonnes of soya beans in a day and it is the same for maize. Approving this import will not affect the local production, but why we are seeking this approval is so that we don’t get all our gains eroded by shortage of maize.”
Speaking further, Akpa said that the importance of addressing the bottlenecks around the supply and price of maize in the country cannot be overemphasized, adding that apart from its industrial use, it also serves as food for over 75 per cent of Nigerians from the North.
He added, “When you look at the importance of maize, 75 percent of people in Northern Nigeria, apart from buying for industrial use where poultry belong, also consume maize as their staple food.
“Today, if a kilogram of maize is going for N200, and you have a large family, You will be spending a lot to feed the family.
“There has been over 15-17 movement in the prices of poultry feeds in the last 30 days, the prices have continued to shift, so invariably the poultry farmers will have to continue to manage their cost of input and for those who do commercial activities, they will continue to shift the price to the final consumers, and this is affecting the entire value chain.”
Speaking on accessing FOREX for import, the DG said, “The import will be private sector driven, from private investments. There are a lot of credit facilities in the bank, if the approval to import is granted, it now behoves on the association to strategies on how to generate the money for the import .