The Nigerian Young Farmers Network has appealed to the Federal Government to rescind a decision on the plan for partial importation of maize and other restricted crops.
The National Coordinator of the network, Promise Amahah, made the appeal during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.
Amahah was reacting to a leaked circular from the Nigeria Customs Service on the plan to allow some crops, initially banned for importation, to come into the country to strike a balance between food imports and local production capacities to meet anticipated shortfall.
The coordinator stated that the resources for the importation would have been channeled towards empowering Nigerian farmers, especially youths, to cultivate crops massively.
“Maize is ubiquitous as it is one of the special crops that grow everywhere in Nigeria.
“Every region has the capacity to produce maize and government must encourage youths to grow such crop.
“We must work hard, as a country, to address the growing insecurity and growing debt profile through agriculture.
“We want to clarify that the Nigeria Young Farmers Network is totally against full or partial importation of crops into the country.
“The step will dampen our efforts in mobilising young people to engage in agriculture, especially in view of the rapidly dwindling economy.
“Youth apathy towards agriculture is a major challenge we are working hard to reverse and anything short of full support to achieve that will be counter-productive,’’ he told NAN.
Amahah further said that the cost of providing foreign exchange for the five selected companies to import maize would be sufficient to mobilise 10 million young farmers to produce maize nationwide.
NAN recalls that the Central Bank of Nigeria, in July, directed all authorised dealers to discontinue the processing of Form M for the importation of maize with immediate effect.