Agricultural Imports Hit N3.1trn In 2 Years As Food Prices Surge

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The rise in agricultural imports has continued unabated despite hundreds of billions of naira in funding backed by the Central Bank of ’s initiatives, rising by 140 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021.

Some of the major agricultural items that  imports according to the latest foreign trade report include durum wheat, preparations of animals, blue whiting, malt, herrings, and other edible mixtures.

According to the recently published foreign trade report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), ’s agricultural import spiked by 140 percent year-on-year in first quarter of 2021.  imported agricultural items worth N630.18 billion in the period compared to N262.1 billion in first quarter of 2020.

This represents the highest quarterly Agric import recorded by  since 2016. In the past two years, between second quarter of  and first quarter of 2020,  has  N3.1 trillion on agricultural imports.

Some of the intervention programs, as stated by the apex bank in its last MPC briefing, include N631.4 billion to 3.11 million smallholder  cultivating 3.8 million hectares of land, under the Anchor Borrowers’ program. Also, 29,26 beneficiaries received N111.7 billion for the AGSMEIS, while 548,345 beneficiaries have received N253.4 billion under the Targeted Credit Facility.

These interventions notwithstanding, Agric imports continue to rise, triggered by multiple devaluations of the naira, demand for higher input raw materials, and rising inflation. Much of Nigeria’s food consumption still relies significantly on the importation of  to stimulate local .

For example, wheat remains an imported  input costing Nigeria about N222 billion in the first quarter of 2021 alone. It was N252 billion in the 4th quarter of 2020, translating to an annualized cost of N1 trillion ($2 billion).

Nigeria’s food index has increased by 32.3 percent between September  and April 2021, which is only  weighted aggregate of the market reality.

According to  market survey report which studies the prices of  in major markets in  State,  bag of pepper surged by as much as 85.7 percent in May 2021, while beans increased by 15.1 percent in the same period.

Other items that have witnessed significant increases recently include flour, egg, tomatoes, noodles, pasta, bread, beverages, just to state  few.

According to Suleiman Dikwa, the CEO of Green Sahara Farms,  major cause of the surge in agric imports is the inability of Nigeria to produce sufficiently for local consumption.

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