By Sylvester Thompson
Abuja – Maize growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN) has pleaded with the federal and state governments to provide infrastructural and storage facilities to boost farmers’ output.
The association’s National President Edwin Uche made this appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
Uche urged governments at the federal and state level to come to the aid of rural farmers by providing infrastructure, saying this would also ease the suffering of rural farmers.
“ Infrastructure is another key to agriculture because of the difficulties involved in moving agricultural produce from the rural to urban area.
“It is a herculean task if the challenge of infrastructure is not addressed, couple with the increase cost of production.
“We are therefore appealing to government to help by intervening in such critical area so that movement of inputs, goods and services can be easier for farmers,’’ he said.
The MAGPMAN president also appealed for intervention in storage facilities for farmers, saying storage was another big challenge confronting rural maize farmers.
“We are also advocating that government should make its silos flexible for associations to make use of these silos through those who have the benefit of getting the silos,’’ Uche said.
He added that if the cost of these silos were cheaper, associations could comfortably enjoin their members to store and make food available all year round.
“Government should please support us with storage facilities,’’ the MAGPMAN national president said.
Uche said MAGPMAN “is the apex body that drives maize value chain in Nigeria and addressing issues and challenges confronting maize farming in Nigeria”.
According to him, the association is highly positioned with the necessary capacity to drive home their objectives and deliver values to farmers and all stakeholders.
“We have the MAGPMAN dry season support scheme for specific states that have access to irrigation and water.
“The scheme is designed to advance farm inputs to our farmers at a low credit of 10 per cent interest rate for six months, the idea is for them to grow within six months,’’ he said.
He disclosed this came with an off taker infrastructure they had created, which makes it easier for them to absorb what the farmers had grown, ensuring the end value for growing those commodities.
Uche also said that to achieve this they had developed partnership with quality input service providers.
“Many seed companies are already working with the association, we are also working with agro-chemical organisation that will help advance quality agro-chemical that are fully tailored to the growth of maize in Nigeria.
“This partnership is important to ensure that we have enough maize, not just for the industrial sector but also for local consumption,” he said.(NAN)