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Nigeria produces a wide range of agricultural commodities, which could serve as raw materials for industrial production and food crop for human consumption. This dual nature of these crops makes them to be in high demand and one of such crop is Maize.

Maize (Zea Mays) is a cereal crop that grows across a range of agro-ecological zones in Nigeria, though it is grown slightly more in the Northern part of the country. Two types of maize are grown in Nigeria, the yellow and white variety and due to its rate of adaptability, Maize is not a seasonal product and some of the major producing states in Nigeria includes Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Gombe, Taraba, Plateau, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina,  Nasarawa ,Niger and Zamfara.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa (about 165 million) is essentially agrarian in nature with over 80 per cent of her food needs being produced by peasant farmers cultivating, in many cases, less than 2 hectares of land.

Maize is the most important cereal crop in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and an important staple food for more than 1.2 billion people in SSA and Latin America. All parts of the crop can be used for food and non-food products. In industrialized countries, maize is largely used as livestock feed and as a raw material for industrial products.

It is on record that more than 60% of Nigeria’s production of maize is consumed by the industrial sector for production of flour, beer, malt drink, corn flakes, starch, syrup, dextrose and animal feeds. There is high demand for corn {maize} starch in Nigeria. With a population of over 165 million people and an estimated national population growth rate of 5.7% per annum ,an average economic growth rate of 3.5% per annum in the past five {5} years, Nigeria has a large market for corn {maize}  starch.

Industries in need of cassava starch include textile, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, paper and packaging, manufacturing and chemicals.

The national demand for corn {maize} starch in Nigeria is estimated at about 800,000 tons/ annum while the current national supply is estimated at 350,000 ton per annum.

Factors to consider before cultivating maize in Nigeria includes land, choice of variety, time of planting, seed rate, seed dressing, spacing and other agricultural practice.

Maize matures within 2-5 months of planting the crop and with the use of Hybrid Maize and mechanized system of farming, yield of maize can reach up to 10 tonnes per hectare.

From the above, it is clear that a large and sustainable exist for maize cultivation and production in Nigeria for both local and export market.

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