Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has hinted that the Federal Government would not allow massive importation of maize by the Olam Group next year.
Although the minister stated that maize was not on the nation’s import ban list, he, however, charged the company to work out how to grow the produce locally through backward integration, the way it had done in rice production.
The Olam Group had allegedly imported seven ship-load of maize into the country, recently.
Speaking to newsmen in his office, the minister also identified the activities of middlemen, whom, he alleged, hoard grains and made the prices prohibitive, as one of the main challenges facing the sector.
His words, “One of the issues that we are facing is hoarding by middlemen. I know in many warehouses in places like Funtua, Bokkos and Dawano market in Kano, huge warehouses are loaded with grains by some middlemen who believe that they were waiting for the price to rise to the sky before they can sell. So, the price of maize rose from N85,000 per tonne to N135,000. And poultry farmers were losing all their chickens; I keep poultry too, it has affected me.
“So, people started complaining but then you couldn’t persuade the farmer to put the maize in the market”, Ogbeh lamented.
Culled from Daily Sun