New Telegraph

February 25, 2024

Feed millers, others import N6bn maize amid ban

CROSSROADS

Importers are in dilemma over rising cost of corn importation and exchange rates

 

Despite the ban on maize importation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), beverage, feed millers and other companies have flooded the Lagos and Calabar ports with 70,000 tonnes of maize valued at N6billion ($12million) in one week. Most of the cereal are being imported from Russia, United States, Brazil and India is used for beer, malt drinks, maize flakes, starch, syrup and dextrose.

 

Record by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’s shipping position revealed that two vessels arrived at the weekend with 53,950 tonnes of the cereal at the Lagos Port Complex in Apapa.

 

At Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL) of the port, Desert Grace arrived with 22,500 tonnes, while Izumo Hermes also berthed with 31,450 tonnes at the terminals C and D of the port managed by ENL Consortium.

 

Also, Desert Grace has been moored at Calabar port with 16,000 tonnes of maize. It was leant that the latest import is to complement the N800 billion spent annually on maize by poultry operators, who said that the apex bank should review the ban on maize.

the ban, importers said t

hat they could no longer source forex from the CBN to import maize at the official rate of N379/dollar but at parallel market rate of N475/ dollar.

 

However, this year, the CBN had supported 70,000 farmers with N13 billion for the 2020 wet season farming through its anchor borrower intervention. Worried by the ban, a former General Secretary of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Oyo state branch, Dr Segun Makanjuola, explained that the country had over 160 million birds.

 

He noted that it costs N5,000 to rear a chick, noting that it would translate N800 billion yearly to feed the birds. In 2019, import statistics by NPA’s shipping position revealed that the country imported 400,000 metric tonnes of the cereal last year.

 

The port data explained that two vessels, which berthed at Lagos and Calabar ports in December, 2019 with 25,200 tonnes, were Eagle Star laden with13,200 tonnes at Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL) of the Lagos Port, while MV Eternity C offloaded 12,000 tonnes at Calabar Port. Also, no fewer than 38,000 tonnes of the cereal were offloaded at Lagos and Calabar ports within the August and September, 2018.

 

At the ABTL, MV Eternity Sea offloaded 18,000 tonnes, while MV Zola discharged 20,000tonnes at the ENL Consortium terminal in the period. The port data revealed that 195,443 metric tonnes of the cereal were conveyed to the country between January and October, 2017 through the Lagos, Rivers, Calabar and Tincan ports.

 

At the Apapa Bulk terminal Limited (ABTL), Lagos Port Complex, MV Eternity Sea offloaded 18,000 tonnes of the corn, while MV Zola discharged 20,000tonnes at ENL Terminal.

 

In October, Kinatsi discharged 18,500 tonnes; Zola, 20,000 tonnes and Nasco Pearl, 18,000 tonnes at Lagos Port Complex, while 8,444 tonnes were offloaded from African Joseph R and 11,500 tonnes from Estia at Tincan Island Port.

 

Also, Nasco Pearl and Desert Victory discharged 22,000tonnes and 14,999 tonnes respectively at Rivers Port in Port Harcourt. In June, CBN asked banks to stop processing documents for maize imports into Nigeria with immediate effect.

 

The central bank said in a circular that it had resolved to boost local production, stimulate the economy and safeguard rural livelihoods lost as a result of the COVID-19.

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