Ministry: We’ve closed four million metric tonnes maize supply gap

The Ondo State Government said it would distribute special variety of maize seeds as a palliative to farmers in the state, to help mitigate hunger after the Coronavirus pandemic.

The four million metric tonnes maize supply gap in Nigeria has been closed through the local production of the commodity by indigenous farmers, the Federal Government has said.

It announced this through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at an event on the importance of vitamin A maize organised by HarvestPlus Nigeria in Abuja.

The agric ministry’s Maize Value Chain Coordinator, Adeleke Mufutau, who represented the FMARD, told our correspondent on the side-lines of the event that maize was no longer in short supply in Nigeria.

He said, “I can authoritatively say that the gap between the supply of maize grains and its demand, which was around four million tonnes some three years ago, has been closed by local production.

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“And who are the brains behind this? It is the Maize Association of Nigeria, which has a large number of farmers who produce this maize, specifically vitamin A maize.”

Mufutau added, “Maize is no longer in short supply in Nigeria. Sequel to COVID-19, our production was about 15.5 million metric tonnes and the demand for maize grains in Nigeria was about 18.5 million metric tonnes.

“That was before the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2019. But the good news is that this gap has been closed and farmers are working hard to maintain this feat.”

He stated that the concern now was how vitamin A maize grains would be utilised by processors, poultry farmers, flour mills and other small-scale industries, considering the nutrients in the crop.

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On his part, the Country Manager, HarvestPlus, Yusuf Dollah, stated that at the beginning of the 2021 wet season, over 9,000 metric tonnes of vitamin A maize seeds were produced and distributed across the country by over 20 seed companies.

“The vitamin A maize varieties which matures within 80 days of planting to harvest is at the moment being harvested from the various agro regions of Nigeria, indications coming from the field shows that 2021 is indeed a year for the vitamin A maize,” he said.

Also, the President, MAAN, Bello Abubakar, said maize producers nationwide had been delivering virtually all their products to the market, as maize farmers hardly record waste.

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