BusinessDay

Nigeria seen relying on grain import as production drops

Nigeria will likely rely on grain imports this year for food security as Covid-19 pandemic, foreign exchange devaluation, and climate change reduced the country’s 2020 output of wheat, maize, and rice, data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) grain report on Nigeria has shown.

Not fewer than three million hectares of farmlands of rice, maize, and wheat across the country were impacted by insecurity and extreme weather conditions last year.

The USDA report puts Nigeria’s mid-year 2020/21 maize production at 9 million tons, a 13 percent declined when compared to 11.5 million tons forecasted last year.

According to the report, the decline is expected due to the negative effect of Covid-19 lockdown measures on productivity.

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“MY2020/21 area harvested is forecast at roughly 5.0 million hectares (MH), about 24 percent drop compared with 6.5 million hectares registered the preceding two years,” the report said.

“These are expected to be the case as growing insecurity (caused by Boko Haram insurgency, herdsmen-farmers crisis, and kidnapping) continues to limit land area under cultivation during the out-year,” the report further said.

“Heavy July floods across many maize-producing areas also destroyed lands under cultivation at a time of soaring input costs and when many farmers lack capital for replanting,” the report added.

The report stated that supply shortfalls due to Covid-19 pandemic, currency devaluations, increasing insecurity, and flooding events will pressure the Nigerian government to increase maize import approvals in the year.

Similarly, the country’s poultry association says it would require importing about 5.6 million metric tons to meet its industry demand for the grain in the MY2020/21 period.

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