FG denies spending N6b on maize importation
Despite obvious indicators that N6b was spent on importing maize in April and May 2017, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has denied such expenditure, stressing that the Federal Government has increased maize production.
The denial comes barely two weeks after Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, raised alarm over imminent shortage of maize, following infestation of armyworm disease ravaging maize farms across the country.
Ogbeh explained that the infestation made it difficult to meet local demand of 15.5million metric tonnes of the crop, while current production stands at 10.5million tonnes, a deficit of 5million metric tonnes.
Speaking to The Guardian on the development, Maize Value Chain Desk Officer, Dr. Muftau Adeleke, said Federal Government is doing everything possible to increase maize production, noting that the current situation is not so bad as to warrant resort to maize imports.
But on whether imported maize was part of government’s support to Poultry Farmers Association (PAN), to cushion the effect of high cost of local maize on feeds production, Adeleke said he was not aware of such transaction.
Rather, he said: “The Federal Government is not importing maize. The only thing that was done was to provide poultry farmers with the crop so as to bridge the gap of shortage in the country.”
“Federal Government has been looking out for ways to increase maize production to meet demand for the production of feeds for poultry farmers, but it has not reached the point of resorting to importation,” he added.