The Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Anambra chapter, has commended the Federal Government’s disbursement of inputs worth N89 million to Anambra farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
Mr Simeon Nwafor, state chairman of the association gave the commendation while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Onitsha on Tuesday, saying that the inputs are for the current farming season.
“This is the first time Anambra is participating in the programme. We are in the field and have started harvesting as part of the efforts to ensure maize sufficiency for consumption and export,” Nwafor said.
He explained that the association received inputs including maize seedlings, NPK fertilizer, Urea fertilizer, agro-chemicals, micro nutrients (liquid) and knapsack sprayers, among others, for 535 farmers on 535 hectares of farmland.
The chairman said they are still expecting delivery of 272 bags of Urea and 60 bags of 120kg maize, among others.
“We have not completed harvest, but so far, we can say we have a bumper harvest,” he said.
Nwafor said maize farmers are faced with challenges such as the high cost of manual labour as a result of the absence of mechanized equipment such as tractors, planters and harvesters.
“Because all the support given to us are not in cash but inputs equivalent, we hire labourers which tells on our resources.
“Every week, we spend between N500,000 and N600,000 on manual labour. You can then calculate for a month and more.
“The labourers are also not planting as expected; a hectare which ought to take about 55,506 seedlings, accommodates far below the required quantity per hectare,” he said.
Nwafor said with a mechanized planting machine, the maize cultivation will go according to calibration and standard, resulting in higher yield per hectare.
The chairman also expressed concern at the menace of army worms affecting some of the crops in the farm, saying that the agro-chemicals, Goldmax, disbursed to farmers against the insects are not effective.
“The Federal Government gave us Goldmax chemical products to help to remedy the effects of army worms, but after applying it, you come another day to realize that the worms are still alive.
“We carried out research and discovered that another chemical called Caterpillar Force was more effective,” Nwafor noted.
He said purchasing the agro-chemicals for their crops is another expense on their part.
“We are appealing to government to revisit the chemicals they provide to us for better effects against worms and insects,” Nwafor said.
The chairman, who also appealed for early release of inputs, said the experience garnered from their first encounter under the ABP, will aid them through the 2021 farming season for better yield. (NAN)