Maize Marketing


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.

Where will you sell your maize products?

Who is going to buy your maize produce?

How are you going to go about the selling process of your corn?

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:

International markets.

What have the rains been like in other major grain producing countries like the US, Brazil and Argentina?

What supplies of grain are flooding the international market?

What countries have experienced drought and thus will not be active in the market?

What potential markets exist across our borders for our grain?

What is the supply and demand of maize like in neighbouring states?

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?

Is the demand greater for white or yellow maize? What are the regional preferences in grain consumption?

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;

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.).


Compiled by Damilola Omotoyinbo

Reference list

Africa Bussiness Classroom (2016). Maize Farming in Nigeria & Secrets of making millions. retrieved from https://www.africabusinessclassroom com/maize-farming-nigeria/ last updated December 15, 2016.

Grain Sa (2016). Marketing options for your maize. Retrieved from za/marketing-options-for-your-maize. Last updated February 2016.

(FAO) Food and Agriculture Organization (undated). A guide to maize marketing for extension officers. Retrieved from http://www.fao org/docrep/005/x0530e/X0530E03.htm

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