The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) has expressed deep worries over alleged massive importation of maize into the country by Olam Group, a leading multi-national Agri-business operating from seed to shelf with branches across Nigeria.
The National Coordinator of the NFGCS, Mr Redson Tedheke, in an interview with Newsmen in Abuja on Friday, decried the development, describing it as a major threat to local production of maize.
He lamented that the massive importation of the product was coming at a time when the NFGCS and many other local farmers have heeded the call of President Muhammadu Buhari to go back to the farm to feed Nigeria, and that NFGCS had invested heavily in maize farming in particular.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria must act urgently or the localization of maize production will be lost to the anti-nationalism forces of importers ,hell-bent on destroying Nigerian farmers in favour of Indian farmers who are highly subsidized by the Indian Government.
“Olam Farms have seven vessels loaded with imported maize, and this imported maize is not produced in West Africa but India. Whatever the relationship, the Nigerian Government should not allow this maize to be sold here because it will kill local farming and the Nigerian Economy.
“The current price in Nigeria is between N130,000 and N250,000 per ton with local production. We gathered that the current landing cost of the maize Olam is importing is N40,000/ton.
“If allowed, the action will spell doom for farmers who have battled lack of funding, the ineptitude of Government agencies and the continuing war with Army worms in this current farming season,”Tedheke lamented.
He warned that if the imported maize is allowed into the Nigerian market it will adversely affect the price of locally produced ones, and cause a huge loss to farmers who have heeded President Buhari’s call for farming.
He noted that the NFGCS is employing 250 staff today and is hoping to add a further 1,000 before the end of this Year. While it is currently opening up 2,000 hectares of new maize farmlands in Nasarawa and Adamawa States, besides its cultivated 300 hectares that are almost ready for harvest.
“We have only one demand; let these vessel head back to India, Nigeria Cannot afford to eliminate the livelihood of millions of farmers who are answering a national call to make Nigeria independent of external Influences.”
Tedheke therefore called on relevant government authorities to intervene in order to save local farmers from imminent loss.
“We are informed that the Minister of Agriculture and that of Finance have kicked against this importation by Olam. So who cleared the imported maize into Nigeria?”,he queried.