• Friday, March 01, 2024
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Nigeria spent N539.88bn on wheat, sugar, fish imports in Q3

Why Nigeria’s import tariffs need a downward review

Nigeria spent N331.76 billion importing wheat, N157.34 billion importing sugar, and N50.78 billion importing fish; totalling N539.88 billion for the three food items in the third quarter of 2023, BusinessDay’s analysis shows.

According to the Q3 2023 foreign trade report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 83.87 percent of the country’s agric import value (N643.68 billion) was dedicated to the importation of durum wheat, cane sugar, mackerel and other fish.

“The major agriculture goods imported in Q3, 2023 included ‘Durum wheat (not in seeds)’ from Poland with N90.46 billion and Canada with N73.03 billion.

“This was followed by ‘Mackerel (Scomber scombrus, Scomber australasicus, Scomber japonicus) meat, frozen.’ from Faroe Islands valued at N16.35 billion,” the NBS said.


A total of N331.76 billion was used to import durum wheat into the country in the third quarter of 2023, making it the country’s highest imported food item.

Wheat is the third most imported item in the country after petrol and gas oil, accounting for 3.9 percent of the total value of goods imported into the country.

Durum wheat is a variety of spring wheat that is typically ground into semolina and used to make pasta. It is also finely ground and used to prepare couscous, bulgur, noodles, and bread.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, wheat is the third most widely consumed grain in the country after maize and rice.


Cane sugar meant for refining accounted for 1.86 percent of the total value of goods imported into the country. The total quantity of cane sugar imported was valued at N157.34 billion.


Data from the NBS shows that Nigeria’s fish import (Mackerel and other fish) in the third quarter of 2023 was valued at N50.78 billion, accounting for 0.6 percent of total imports.

Nigeria imports fish varieties including mackerel (locally called titus or alaran), herrings (locally called shawa), horse mackerel (locally called kote), blue whiting (locally called panla), Argentina silus (locally called ojuyobo), and the popular croaker fish.