There are thousands of maize farms in Nigeria.
Back in the days, we use to have one in my father’s house. Interestingly, we did not make much money from it.
After harvest, we would eat and eat until our stomach can take no more. Of course, we share to our friends and families also.
Just like ours, there are so many maize farms in Nigeria that are not yielding profits.
Nigeria remains Africa’s largest producer with nearly 8 million tons produced per annum. It is closely followed by South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. The United States remains the world’s largest producer with 42 percent of all maize produced globally, according to Farm Crowdy.
So, basically, more than production, farmers need marketing strategies in order to make more profit which is necessary for survival.
How Can You Market Maize For Profits?
1. Identify your corn market before you start your maize farming.
A farmer will do well to identify his/her corn market before starting a maize farm.
He has to determine if he will use middlemen to get his produce to the market, or sell his corn directly to the retailer.
There are three steps to making this determination and three basic questions to ask;
1. Where will you sell your maize products?
2. Who is going to buy your maize produce?
3. How are you going to go about the selling process of your corn?
4. Once these questions are answered successfully, then the farmer is good to go (Africa Bussiness Classroom, 2016).
Maize prices are determined by the willing buyer and willing seller process and certain factors will always influence this. They are:
1. International markets.
2. What have the rains been like in other major grain producing countries like the US, Brazil and Argentina?
3. What supplies of grain are flooding the international market?
4. What countries have experienced drought and thus will not be active in the market?
5. What potential markets exist across our borders for our grain?
6. What is the supply and demand of maize like in neighboring states?
7. What is the trading environment like between our countries? What issues may arise, for example whether there is resistance to genetically modified organism (GMO) maize or not.
8. Is the demand greater for white or yellow maize? What are the regional preferences in grain consumption?
9. How much food aid is being delivered there presenting a direct competition for our maize? (Grain Sa, 2016).
Below is a list of individuals you can sell your maize crop to.
1. Selling directly to consumers
This is only a realistic option for farmers who live close to a town with a market or for farmers who only have a small quantity to sell which can be disposed of locally.
Selling in retail markets is time-consuming and the farmer may have to stay at the market for several days in order to sell his crop.
He will have problems in storing his maize in the market and making sure it is not stolen. Also, the time he will have to stay in the market can be considered a cost for him.
2. Selling wholesale in the market
An alternative to selling directly to consumers is to take the maize to the market and sell it to a retailer who is licensed to trade there.
Alternatively, many markets function both as retail markets and as assembly markets where traders buy from farmers for subsequent resale, not to consumers but to large mills or other traders.
Selling to traders has advantages for the farmer in that he will not have to sit in the market for a long period in order to sell all his maize. But if he sells to traders he will be selling at the wholesale price, which will obviously be less than the retail price.
A problem with taking maize to the market is that the farmer has to arrange transport. This may not be so easy to organize, particularly when he only has a few bags.
It may also be more expensive for a farmer, per bag, than it would be for a trader visiting the farmer’s village. Once at the market, the farmer is faced with another problem — if he cannot sell his maize he has to take it back home again. This might make them lower their prices.
3. Selling to traders in towns
Larger traders are likely to have their own stores in towns close to or in the larger markets. They offer an important outlet for farmers who want to deliver their own maize to buyers rather than wait for the buyers to visit them.
They may also be more likely to buy at a fixed price than to negotiate with the sellers. It would greatly help farmers to know in advance the prices such traders are paying and this is an important way in which extension workers can help farmers.
4. Selling maize to visiting traders
This is the easiest option for farmers. They do not have to worry about organizing transport and they may even not have to worry about buying bags, as the trader may provide them.
The trader buys on the farm or in the village, so minimizing the farmer’s workload and the time he spends in selling his maize.
5. Selling to a hammer mill
One aspect of market liberalization has been the rapid expansion in the number of maize hammer mills in the region. Entrepreneurs have installed these both in cities and in fairly remote villages.
Such mills often offer cost advantages over large-scale mills and consumers have frequently found it worth their while to buy maize and take it to the nearest hammer mill for milling, rather than to buy commercially produced meal.
Hammer mills have mainly concentrated on milling for farmers or consumers for a fee per bag or kilogram. Relatively few have gone into business as buyers of maize and sellers of maize meal.
6. Selling maize to large-scale mills
Commercial mills represent a large potential market for farmers, but they are likely to want to buy maize by the truckload and not in quantities of a few bags.
Smaller farmers can only consider delivering directly to such mills if they can organize themselves into groups to hire a vehicle (FAO, n.d.).
Maize is highly lucrative as it is consumed in many forms in different parts of the world.
Here are few products that can be gotten from maize;
Maize Flour: Maize flour is derived from grounded and desiccated seed of the maize seeds.
It is powdery flour and its whitish in color. It is used to make baked products and corn bread.
Flaking Grits: Corn Flaking Grits is produced from the best non-GMO maize. It can be obtained using a semi-wet corn degermination technique, comprising medium fragments of endosperm, with no added preservatives.
Flaking Grits are mainly used for manufacturing of corn flakes which is popular breakfast cereal.
Maize Meal (known as mealie meal in southern Africa): Mielie Meel or mielie pap is a relatively coarse flour made from maize which is known as mielies.
It can be used to produce either porridge or the firmer pap/nshima/sadza. The porridge is commonly eaten for breakfast in Southern Africa.
It is usually made of a white rather than a yellow maize variety.
Maize Bran: Maize bran consists of the outer coating of the maize seeds. Maize bran is loaded with insoluble fiber, which is important for digestive health and which helps to lower the cholesterol level in the blood.
Maize bran is also used in cattle feed, fisheries, and feed additives.
Maize Germ: Germ is one of the ingredients of the maize which is separated in the crushing process of maize.
Corm Germ is the endosperm of maize grain (a yellow colored seed and rich in oil). It is widely used for oil extraction, cattle feeding, poultry feeding and swine feeding.
Kokoro’: ‘Kokoro’ is also produced in a similar way like ‘aadun’ by roasting, kneading, spicing and frying. This method is described by Adegoke and Adebayo (1994).
Popcorn: Popcorn is made by putting maize grains inside an earthen pot containing sand, and heated with firewood. The heat changes the color of the whitish grains to brownish (i.e. ‘guguru’).
Cooked or boiled maize: Freshly harvested maize fruit is boiled until the seeds are soft and eaten directly from the cobs.
Pap: In Nigeria, they are two kinds- hot pap (also called Ogi or akamu) and cold pap (called eko). The major difference in these two lies in the method of serving. Hot pap is served hot while cold pap is served cold.
To prepare paps generally, the maize grains are soaked in cold water inside earthen pot for 2 to 3 days.
Then the grains are washed with clean water severally and later ground to paste. Water is added and left for days with change of water at interval.
At this stage, the amount desire may be taken and prepared inside boiling water until a hot pap is obtained.
There are many other maize products not mentioned in this article.
Compiled by Damilola Omotoyinbo and Iyanuoluwa Olamide Aliu
Africa Bussiness Classroom (2016). Maize Farming in Nigeria & Secrets of making millions. retrieved from https://www.
Grain Sa (2016). Marketing options for your maize. Retrieved from http://www.grainsa.co za/marketing-options-for-your-
(FAO) Food and Agriculture Organization (undated). A guide to maize marketing for extension officers. Retrieved from http://www.fao org/docrep/005/x0530e/
Sellick, W. (2010). The Imperial African Cookery Book: Recipes from English-speaking Africa . Jeppestown Press. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-9553936-8-6 .
Adegoke, G. O. and Adebayo, C. O. (1994). Production, nutritional profiles and storability of ‘aadun’ and ‘kokoro’, two corn products. Plant food Hum. Nutr. 45, 139-144