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Insecurity Threatens Maize Production in Plateau, Posing Economic Challenges

By George George Idowu

Mangu local government in Plateau State faces a significant decline in maize production, with over 477,900 metric tonnes at risk due to ongoing insecurity issues, according to an exclusive report by BusinessDay newspaper.

The region, home to one of the largest maize markets in Plateau State and the country, has been grappling with attacks leading to loss of lives, property destruction, and disruption of trade.

John Wuyep, Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Plateau state chapter, expressed concern about the impact of insecurity on maize supply and production in Mangu.

He highlighted that the insecurity, which began mid-last year, has resulted in a reduction in maize production, affecting various industries that rely on maize as a raw material, such as producers of feeds, flour, noodles, biscuits, brewers, starch, and confectionery.

Wuyep noted that hundreds of farmers have fled for safety since the attacks began, causing a shortfall in maize production in Plateau State.

The Chairman of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, Plateau State chapter, Johnson Bagudu, echoed these concerns, stating that the situation in Mangu could have ripple effects on feedstock manufacturers and the food and beverage industry, given the market’s reputation for quality grains.

According to Bagudu, the decline in maize production is likely to impact maize prices, affecting poultry farmers who consume 20 percent of maize production, as per the United States Department of Agriculture 2023 Nigerian grain report.

He added that many poultry farmers in Plateau have ceased operations due to surging maize prices, with maize constituting 80 percent of feed meal formulation.

Plateau, identified as the fifth-largest maize grower in the country according to a 2019 PwC report, now faces economic challenges due to the insecurity affecting its agricultural productivity.

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2024 report predicts a considerable decline in grain production, including maize, in Nigeria and other West African countries due to agro-climatic challenges, insecurity, and rising production costs.

The situation in Mangu underscores the urgent need for measures to address insecurity and protect the agricultural sector’s viability in the region.

 

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