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Food imports exceed exports by N2.23tn in 12 months

The total international trade in agricultural goods in the country stood at N3.24tn in 2021, with the import value exceeding export value by N2.23tn, findings have revealed.

Despite interventions by the Federal Government to diversify the economy and increase food production in the country, security concerns have driven a lot of farmers out of their livelihood.

Figures obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that while Nigerian farmers exported goods worth N127.2bn in the first quarter of 2021, the country imported N630.2bn goods.

In the second quarter, agricultural goods worth N165.27bn were exported while import value was N652.08bn.

The NBS figures on foreign trade statistics revealed that Nigeria’s exported agricultural foods goods were worth N79.4bn and N132.71bn in the third and fourth quarters, while the import values were N789.1bn and N667.16bn respectively.

According to the NBS, most of the agricultural products were exported to Europe and Asia.

The exports of agricultural products were mainly fermented cocoa beans, sesamum seeds, and superior quality raw cocoa beans.

The NBS disclosed that major agricultural goods imported included durum wheat (not in seeds) from the United Arab Emirates and Lithuania.

This was followed by crude palm oil from China and Malaysia, and palm olein, also from Malaysia.

During a recent Monetary Policy Committee, the panel expressed concern over the effect of insecurity on food production in the country.

It stated that “The committee noted the persisting security crisis, especially in major food-producing regions of the country and the severe toll on food supply and prices.

“It noted that inflation had moderated marginally due to the unrelenting effort of the bank in supporting agriculture to boost food supply and prices.

“The committee, thus, reiterated its call to the government to intensify effort towards addressing the security situation in the country to ease supply bottlenecks and bring down food prices.”

During the last MPC, the committee disclosed that to boost production in the country, between January and February 2022, the CBN disbursed N29.67bn under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme for the procurement of inputs and cultivation of maize, rice, and wheat, three crops that hitherto were significant concerns of FX demand.

“These disbursements bring the total under the programme to over 4.52 million smallholder farmers, cultivating 21 commodities across the country, comes to a total of N975.61bn,” it said.

It also disclosed that the Nigeria Commodity Exchange has also been restructured to effectively aggregate excess outputs from the bank’s ABP-financed projects, with the objective of moderating food prices.

The MPC said the bank also released N19.15bn to finance five large-scale agricultural projects under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, bringing the total disbursements under the scheme to N735.17bn for 671 projects in agro-production and agro-processing.

The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has said that the bank is introducing initiatives to encourage Nigerians to consume what they produce and also export.

Emefiele said, “Produce, Add Value and Export is expected to make Nigerians consume what they produce, add value to it, and even export the surplus.

“It is an initiative akin to South-East Asia’s much referenced export-led industrialisation policy which changed the economic fortunes of countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore.

“PAVE is designed to be the key for fast-tracking a bucket of substitutes to crude oil export. It encourages backward integration for the local production of select items.”

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