Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN) said on Wednesday that the delay in the passage of the 2018 budget had affected maize production in the country.
The President of the association, Dr Edwin Uche, said this in an interview with our reporter in Abuja.
He said that timely implementation of Federal Government’s programme, especially on maize cultivation was key to the growth and development of the agriculture sector.
According to Uche, decision makers and budget executors should be more proactive and less bureaucratic to make the process work.
He added that maize production was time-bound, hence the need to adhere strictly to timely implementation of the budget in order to ensure food sufficiency in the country.
“Timely implementation is key and if our decision makers can be more proactive and less bureaucratic, then it will make the process work because agriculture is time-bound.
“Timely implementation of every set programme of the Federal Government should be prioritised by the handlers of the budget.
“Most of the times, we have programme designs but we are often comfortable with the situation where the implementation process tends to affect the time of cultivation.
“Once the cultivation timetable is punctured or we have a problem with implementing the programme based on the environmental or natural timetable, it affects the yield and output.
“When there is delay in implementing budgeted programmes of the Federal Governmen, maize farmers might lose interest or become agitated,’’ he said.
He decried the delay in passing the budget which he attributed to bureaucracy.
“The budget delay is affecting the agriculture sector, because of the palliatives, fertilizers, inputs, to supports maize farmers that are embedded in the budget.
“Goodwill, incentives either from state government or well-wishers help maize farmers and if the budget is not passed, it tends to affect this goodwill,’’ he said.
“The budget is key and it should be passed so it doesn’t further puncture the cultivation timetable as most maize farmers have already begun farming in most parts of the country.
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts at developing agriculture through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
According to him, the agriculture sector has witnessed a lot of reforms in the past two years.
Uche said the association had already commenced linking and aggregating malize farmers in line with the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in FCT, Zamfara and Kaduna.