Nigeria’s agric import hits a total of N512 billion in the third quarter of 2022, despite efforts by the federal government to unlock the potential in the sector.
The value of agricultural imports increased by N48 billion or 10 percent from N464 billion in Q2 2022 to N512 billion in Q3 2022 on a quarter-on-quarter basis, according to data obtained from the foreign trade report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The major agricultural goods imported in Q3, 2022, according to the report included ‘Durum wheat (not in seeds)’ from the United States of America with N78.29 billion and Poland with N45.62 billion. This was followed by ‘Jack and horse mackerel (Trachurus spp.) meat, frozen’ from Chile valued at N15.87 billion and The Netherlands with N1.69 billion.
On a year-on-year basis, the value increased by 6.37 percent when compared to the value recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2021. The total agric import accounts for 9.06 percent of the total imports for the period.
The country has been unable to grow more food for its fast-rising population which must be fed with staples such as rice, beans, tomatoes, and maize.
This has forced the country to spend millions of dollars yearly importing food, thereby putting pressure on its foreign exchange reserves and losing thousands of jobs it would have created if the products were grown locally.
This also is coming on the back of the floods that washed a lot of farmlands in the country this year.
The increase coincides with the predictions of the United Nations on the global food import bill increase.
“At $1.94 trillion, the global food import bill (FIB) is forecast to reach another record in 2022,” according to the Biannual Report on Global Food Market 2022.
The country still has a huge demand-supply gap in most of its staple foods, even as the population growth rate stands at 2.5 percent in 2020, according to the World Bank.
Victor Olowe, a professor and an agronomist at the Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research, said the country’s import bill is surging daily owing to its inability to produce enough food for its fast-rising population.
Olowe added that the spate of insecurity in the country has affected the production of food, especially grains as farmers can no longer grow in areas they usually grow crops on.
The value of agricultural goods exports stood at N84.21 billion in Q3, 2022 indicating a sharp decline of (-40.60 percent) when compared to the value recorded in Q2, 2022 (N141.77 billion) and an increase of 6.03 percent when compared to the value recorded in Q3, 2021 (N79.41 billion).
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s inflation rate accelerated for the tenth consecutive month to 21.47 percent in November 2022, the highest in 17 years from 15.60 percent in January, and food – its major constituent – contributed to its rise as food inflation rose to 24.13 percent in November.