HarvestPlus has expressed commitment to increase the production of maize by creating market and offtakers for newly improved biofortified maize variety.
He said farmers had already gone to the farm to produce massively and HarvestPlus would assist them to sell the maize because if they are not able to sell they won’t be motivated.
“We are not creating any new market, we are building on the existing market structures.
So we are looking at a three level approach, there is an approach where buyers go through the open market to buy, from this open market we will be able to integrate the local commodity brokers into this system”, he said.
Dallah said these local commodity brokers are working with the agricultural extension officers from the major maize hubs, where they will be facilitating the market process.
“We are also looking at another level where the commercial farmers who have produced large quantities, we will be linking them directly with processors to eliminate the middle men, so the processor can approach the commercial farmers directly and mop up”, he added.
“Another approach which we will be focusing on next farming season is contract farming and outgrower management in which we will be supporting processors and large scale aggregators with training for them to be able to establish contractual relationships with farmers.
“What we are consuming is what we produce locally, from the indices we are getting, the harvest of this year has surpassed last year, that means the value chain is growing”, he noted.
At the beginning of the 2021 wet season, over 9000 MT of vitamin A maize seed was produced and distributed throughout the country by over 20 seed companies.
The vitamin A maize variety which matures within 80 days of planting is at the moment being harvested from the various agro regions of Nigeria
The National President Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Dr Bello Abubakar said his Association produced 50 per cent of the 9000 metric tons of vitamin A maize.
“It is good for us to look at the results after production which is to get the market.
It is very important for the maize processors to understand that presently, any maize variety that you need, you will definitely get it.
“So, the production without getting the market is something that can discourage the farmers.
I want to use this opportunity to appeal and call on the processors, especially the industrialists that are using this vitamin A maize, to know that it is being produced in Nigeria”, he said.
He said in the past, maize processors import maize for industrial use but with the ban on the importation of maize by the government, it is expected that maize farmers will be encouraged by linking them to these processors and industrialists who use maize as raw material.
“You are aware that before, the maize processors do import maize, but with the effort of the federal government, especially the Ministry of Agriculture, we are solidly behind banning the importation of maize in order to enhance our own production capacity.
“So, since there is no means of importation, we that are producing need to be encouraged.
I want to call on the Ministry of Agriculture to intensify support in linking the farmers with processors and industrialists that are using Vitamin A maize.
He, however, called for an awareness campaign on the benefits of Vitamin A maize especially in the rural areas.
HarvestPlus Targets Increased Production For Biofortified Maize