The President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has called on Nigerian government to ban maize exports with a view to ensure food security in the country.
Dangote made the call at the 4th Annual Nigerian Food Processors and Nutrition Leadership Forum, organised by the Aliko Dangote Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and TechnoServe in Lagos on Thursday.
The Strengthening African Processors of Fortified Foods (SAPFF) programme uses market-based approach to assist over 90 food processors to increase their capacity to produce and sell fortified foods to local markets.
According to Dangote, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine would lead to food scarcity, which may arise from farmer’s inability to access fertilisers, adding that though the effect might not be immediate, the ripple effect of the war on food production in Nigeria would be felt in the next two to three months.
He noted that Russia and Ukraine were the number one and five in wheat production, accounting for one third of global wheat production.
Dangote warned that there would be shortage of wheat, maize and urea in the global market.
“We would start seeing people exporting maize to earn foreign exchange which I believe we should stop.
“We need to grow more so we don’t have a shortage of food. It is about food security and it’s serious,” he said.
Dangote said that Russia and Ukraine produced about 13 per cent of urea, 26 per cent of potash, and one of the largest producers of phosphate globally.
The Chief Executive Officer, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Bote Olusanya said that the war would impact prices of commodities globally.
He noted that prices of wheat had increased, and there were issues of inventory control and management.
“We need to discuss with government on the measures to take to alleviate the impending crisis.
“The impact will also affect maize as Ukraine is the largest producer; we need to start looking at the issue of cross border trafficking of maize, as more farmers will be moving maize out of the country,” he said.
Olusanya noted that fertiliser would be affected with the impact spanning between 12 months and 18 months.
“If we don’t manage the situation effectively, there will be significant volume of pressure on input material and the volume of food sold,” he said.