Wheat, sugar, and fish have emerged as the top agricultural imports in 2022.
According to BusinessDay’s analysis of the 2022 foreign trade reports released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria spent N941.6 billion importing wheat, N350.8 billion importing sugar, and N122.5 billion importing fish.
“Nigeria’s major agricultural imports include wheat, sugar, fish, and milk, while the main agricultural exports include sesame seeds, cashew nuts, cocoa beans, ginger, frozen shrimp, and cotton,” said Taiwo Oyaniran, associate director at PwC Nigeria, in a 2020 report.
Africa’s biggest economy relies heavily on importation for many goods consumed in the country, including food.
A total of N941.6 billion was used to import durum wheat into the country in 2022, making it the country’s highest imported food item. Its 2022 import bill indicates a 27.5 percent decline from N1.3 trillion in 2021.
Wheat is the third most imported item in the country after petrol and gas oil, accounting for 3.68 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 1.37 percent of the total value of goods imported into the country. The total quantity of cane sugar imported was valued at N350.8 billion, a 17.6 percent decline from the N425.6 billion reported in 2021.
Data from the NBS shows that Nigeria’s fish import in 2022 was valued at N122.5 billion, down 53.84 percent from N265.4 billion in 2021.
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.
Fish imports in 2022 accounted for 0.48 percent of total imports.
A total of N1.9 trillion worth of food products were imported into the country in 2022, accounting for 7.29 percent of the country’s total imports for the year.