By Lydia Ngwakwe
Lagos, June 28, 2021 The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), has approved the release of 50,000 metric tonnes of maize to 12 major producers, from the strategic maize reserve (SMR).
The apex bank said that the release was to enable moderation and price control in the Nigerian market.
CBN said that the action, the third of such releases to the companies, was intended to check activities of middlemen that cause hoarding and artificial scarcity.
A statement obtained from the CBN listed recipients of the grains to include Premier Flour Mills, Crown-Olam, Grand Cereals, Animal Care, Amobyn and Hybrid Feeds.
Others are Obasanjo Farms, Zartech, Wacot, Sayeed Farms, Pandagri Novum and Premium Farms.
Confirming the release of the grains, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, CBN spokesman, expressed optimism that the release would crash the prices of maize and reduce pressure on the market.
He said that it would make the product directly available to feed producers, thereby reducing the price of poultry feed in the country.
As part of the bank’s financing framework, Nwanisobi said the CBN would continue to facilitate the funding of maize farmers and processors through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme Commodity Association.
He said it would also do so through Private/Prime Anchors, State Governments, Maize Aggregation Scheme and the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme.
Also speaking on the development, Dr Bello Abubakar, National President of the Maize Association of Nigeria, urged middlemen to desist from taking advantage of the supply gap to hike the prices of grains.
He assured that farmers in Nigeria would maintain reasonable pricing of the products.
Recall that the CBN, responding to the activities of middlemen in January 2021, released 300,000 metric tonnes of maize, which forced the substantial reduction in the price of maize per metric tonne.
Similarly, the Bank, in a renewed move to address the rising cost of food prices in the Nigerian market, collaborated with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) to distribute 27,000 metric tonnes of rice paddies directly to millers nationwide on June 24, 2021.
The direct allocation from RIFAN warehouses across 16 States of the Federation followed the earlier sale of paddy aggregated as loan repayment under the ABP to millers from the rice pyramids unveiled in Niger, Kebbi, Gombe and Ekiti States.
By Lydia Ngwakwe