Nigeria’s food importation gulps N1.9trn in 2022
Despite the continuous government push to boost local production capacity in recent years, Nigeria still spent a whooping N1.9 trillion importing food in 2022.
A total of N1.9 trillion worth of food products were imported into the country in 2022, indicating a five percent rise compared to N2 trillion spent on food importation in 2021, data from the National Bureau of Statistics trade report has shown.
The imported food products accounted for 7.29 percent of the country’s total imports for the year.
In 2020, Nigeria imported N1.2 trillion worth of agricultural products for the year. In 2019, the country imported N959 billion worth of food, accounting for 5.66 percent of total imports. It imported N857.6 billion and N886.8 billion worth of food products in 2018 and 2017 respectively.
“The data is evidence that will still not grow enough food and we are left with no option but to import,” AfricanFarmer Mogaji, chief executive officer of X-Ray Consulting Limited said in a response to questions.
“Imports are surging despite continuous government support and this is because of the high insecurity rate in the country,” Mogaji said.
Africa’s most populous country has failed to grow more food for its fast-rising population which must be fed with staples ranging from rice, beans, tomatoes, and maize among others.
This has forced the country to spend millions of dollars yearly importing food, thereby putting pressure on Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves and importing thousands of jobs it would have created if the products are grown locally.
The federal government has in the last seven years spent billions of dollars on various agricultural programmes to spur local food production.
However, there is still no significant impact as 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.
Farming activities in the country have been impacted by the high rate of insecurity that has forced many farmers to abandon their farmland.
Also, prices of key inputs such as seeds, herbicides, pesticides, fertilisers, and agro machinery tripled in 2022, making it increasingly hard for farmers to expand their production areas and forcing many to cut down on production.
Climate change’s impact on communities is increasing and smallholder farmers are struggling to cope.
While no country is immune to the impacts of climate change, Nigeria is among the countries that are most vulnerable and least able to cope with the impacts of changing climate.
The Nigerian 2022 flood experience is the worst on record, according to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs
The country’s farmers association says about 90 percent of farms were destroyed by flood incidents in major crop-producing states, thus leading to crop production shortfall.
Read also: Food crisis imminent in 26 states, FCT – Report
“Climate change has been impacting our food production in the last three years and the impact is getting more intense,” said Ibrahim Kabiru, national president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria from his Kastina farm.
“The government is yet to address the insecurity issues that have been limiting production. All these factors serious impacted food production in 2022 and lead to a shortfall,” Kabiru said.
He added that the factors are also responsible for the slower growth recorded by the sector.
BusinessDay’s analysis of the import data shows that the sector has continued to record a trade deficit which is widening yearly.
For export, Nigeria exported N598.2 billion worth of agricultural products in 2022, N504.9 billion, N321.5 billion, N269.8 billion, N 302.3 billion, and N170.4 billion in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017 respectively. It contributed 4.7 percent of total exports in 2022.