By Tunde Osho
Nigeria’s corn output for the 2017-18 season will probably decline by as much as 750,000 metric tons due to the impact of pests and increased imports, the producers’ association said.
Africa’s most-populous country is estimated to produce 10 million tons of corn in the current season, 7 percent less than 10.75 million tons in the 2016-17 season, the President of the Maize Association of Nigeria, Tunji Adenola, said in Ibadan.
“Apart from imports, which is the major challenge to corn production in Nigeria, the two-year-old armyworm attacks ravaging farms has discouraged farmers from producing,” Adenola said. Those unable to compete with imported corn, which is cheaper, are being compelled to switch to other crops, he added.
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest corn producer after South Africa, whose 2017-18 output is estimated at 12 million tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The grain is grown all over the country from the semi-arid north to the rain forests of the south.
Most of Nigeria’s corn is consumed locally as a staple or used in feed for livestock and raw material in the food industry. The West African nation saw corn imports jump 33 percent in the 2016-17 season to reach 400,000 tons, USDA figures show.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s government aims to boost farming output and reduce the economy’s dependence on oil, which contributes two-thirds of government revenue in the country of more than 180 million people.