NIGERIAN maize producers are confident that they can produce 22m tonnes of produce this year consolidating their position as the world’s eighth largest producer equipping them to supply both the food and animal feed markets.
Last year, Nigeria produced 20m tonnes of maize but the Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria (Mfan) is targeting a crop of 22m tonnes in 2020. This will consolidate Nigeria as the number eight origin in the world behind the US, China, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, India and Mexico.
Bello Abubakar, the Mfan president, said his organisation sets itself an annual increase target of 2m tonnes and since 2015, output has risen dramatically from 8m tonnes. He added that Mfan has been able to create 100,000 on-farm and off-farm jobs in 19 states through the implementation of the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
According to Mr Abubakar, Nigeria’s maize processing capacity is 8m tonnes. Maize is one of the most important food crops in Nigeria and provides important economic opportunities for smallholder farmers.
Despite the achievements of increased maize yields, experts say there is a need to keep up with the ever-increasing and competing demands for food, feed and industry needs. Nigeria’s demand for maize is expected to double by 2050 but the magnitude and dynamics of abiotic and biotic stresses are rapidly increasing due to changing climates, placing constraints on production.
Existing constraints to maize production and productivity exacerbates the pressure to meet demand, further emphasising the need for improved technologies and management practices. Tremendous opportunities exist for innovations in maize breeding, precision agriculture, seed systems and value chain additions, offering exciting prospects for future growth and development.