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Harvest Spotlight — Maize, Queen of Grains

Can you imagine a world without a sumptuous bowl of cereal, tuwon masara, agidi, or popcorn? We can’t. Maize (Zea mays, L) is such a versatile and widely grown staple crop planted throughout the world. In this article, we bring you a few facts you should know about Maize and how to make money off the commodity.

One of the popular food crops you will see planted and consumed everywhere you go this harvest season is Maize. Globally, it is a major feed grain and particularly an important food grain in Africa. In Nigeria, maize is called Masara by the Hausas, Agbado by the Yoruba tribe, and Oka by the Igbos. The queen of grains when popped makes the perfect snack for movie nights, when cooked makes the best local dishes, and when dried and ground into flour, it serve as a thickener/ sweetener for food products while its seed is used for animal feed due to its fiber and protein content. Maize is rich in starch, fibre, vitamins A, C, and E, carbohydrates, and essential minerals.


Maize is grown on a wide variety of soil ranging from fairly coarse sand to the heaviest of clay. Over the past decades, global production of Maize has averaged over 1,000 MT. In Africa, Nigeria is the largest producer with a total production of 11 Million MT in 2019, second only to South Africa and the largest producer in Sub-Sharan Africa. In Nigeria, Maize is predominantly produced in Borno, Niger, Plateau, Katsina, Gombe, Bauchi, Kogi, Kaduna, Oyo, and Taraba) and these states account for nearly two thirds (64%) of maize produced in the country.

Top 5 Maize Producers in Africa — 2019 (million/MT)

In Nigeria, there are two main planting seasons for Maize; the first planting season begins in March/April and the second planting season starts from June/ August. In the north, the planting season that guarantees bumper harvest starts in June.

After harvest, maize is usually purchased by big buyers such as producers o animal feed and other maize products either in preparation of cereals, feed, corn starch, corn syrup, or other local dishes. In essence, increases in maize prices can often affect the price of quite a number of the delicious proteins on your food plate.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, production quantities were reduced as a result of the constraints farmers faced such as inadequate storage facilities, lack of access to quality inputs, and market. However, our latest 2021 crop production report describes a promising situation across most staple crops in the country, including maize.

We expect a slight increase of 35 in the production volume of Maize as against the numbers recorded early in the season last year. If farmers produce more, there is likely to be an increase in the availability of maize for flour, feed mill use, and the production of other by-products. According to farmers surveyed while creating our crop production report, the high prices of maize in 2021, as against the 2020 price level, motivated them to increase planting activities in the year, and will also result in farmers deciding to sell more bags of maize this year.

The season is therefore likely to be marked by increased productivity for maize farmers as well as improved income levels as a concurrent increase in price through the season is also projected. Already, the high demand for maize from big processors and companies is leading to early price hikes in the commodity, which are likely to stabilize due to interventions by the CBN and other private sector players.

To cash in on maize, click here —



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