• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Nigeria’s food import hits 5-year high

Nigeria’s food import bill hits highest in five years in the first quarter of 2024 despite the country decal ring a state of emergency on food production, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows.

Money spent on food imports in the first quarter of 2024 – January to March in Africa’s most populous nation surged 95.28 percent to N920.54 billion from N471.39 billion recorded in the same quarter of 2023.

In March 2024, as part of the federal government’s efforts to curb the worsening food crisis, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu stated that Nigeria would not succumb to food importation to stabilise prices.

He emphasised that the government would not allow the importation of food but rather turn the lack in the country into abundance.

Meanwhile, the country’s food inflation soared to record highs of 40.5 percent in April, reflecting a 15.92 percent increase year-on-year, with many people now hungry and incapable of affording a balanced diet.

The NBS Foreign Trade Statistics report shows that the value of food received into the country through maritime, planes, vehicles and other mediums surged 29.4 percent from N711.4 billion expended in Q4 2023.

“The major agriculture goods imported in Q1 2024 included durum wheat (not in seeds) from Canada with N130.26 billion and Lithuania with N98.63 billion,” the NBS said.

Read also: Global food prices surge for three consecutive months in May

It added that this was followed by blue whitings (micromesistius poutassou, micromesistius australis) meat, frozen from the Netherlands valued at N16.67 billion.

The combined value of wheat importation in the period was N519.75 billion.

The average costs of Nigeria’s wheat importation – a major driver of the food import value in the period under review, increased 33 percent compared to its value last quarter (N391.01 billion).

Nigeria continues to increase its importation of wheat as its derivatives remain popular food choices among consumers amid the surge in the prices of close substitutes – garri and rice.

Total imports for Q1 2024 stood at N12.64 trillion representing a 39.65 percent increase from N9.05 trillion in Q4 2023 and a 95.53 percent rise from N6.47 trillion in Q1 2023.

The value of food imports accounted for 7.3 percent of total imports in the quarter under review.

Going by country, Nigeria imported goods mostly from Asia, China, Europe, America and Africa, among others.

“The top-ranked group import was mineral fuels with N4,436.59 billion representing 35.09 percent of total imports.

This was followed by machinery and transport equipment with N3,170.35 billion, contributing 25.08 percent to total imports and chemicals & related products amounting to N1,786.43 billion (14.13 percent of total imports),” the NBS said in its report.

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