Dr Edwin Uche, President, Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN), says the delay in the passage of the 2018 budget has affected maize cultivation in the country.
Uche said this in a telephone interview with News men, in Abuja.
He said that timely implementation of Federal Government’s programme on maize cultivation was key to the success of agriculture sector.
According to Uche, the decision makers and those handling the budget should be more proactive and less bureaucratic so as to make the process work.
He stressed that the cultivation of maize was time-bound and the time requirements for the crop growing must be strictly adhered to in order to achieve food sufficiency in the country.
“The timely implementation of every set programme of the Federal Government should be prioritised by the handlers of the budget.
“Most of the time, we have programme designs but we are often comfortable with a situation where the implementation process tends not 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 yields and outputs.
“When there is delay in implementing the programmes in the Federal Government’s budget, maize farmers might lose interests or become agitated,’’ he said.
Uche bemoaned the delay in passing the budget, attributing the delay to undue bureaucracy.
“The budget delay is affecting the agriculture sector because of the palliatives, fertilizers and inputs to support maize farmers are embedded in the budget.
“Goodwill and incentives, either from state government or well-wishers, are helpful to maize farmers but if the budget is not passed, this tends to affect the goodwill,’’ he said.
Uche reiterated the need to promptly pass the budget so as to ensure that it did not further puncture the cultivation timetable, as most maize farmers had already started crop growing in most parts of the country.
He applauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to develop the agriculture sector through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He noted that the agriculture sector had witnessed a lot of reforms, which deserved commendations, in the last two years.
He said that MAGPAMAN had started aggregating and linking maize farmers with the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in FCT, Zamfara and Kaduna State.