The latest foreign trade data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that in 2021 Nigeria imported N1.29 trillion worth of durum wheat. An increase of 71.1 percent over the N756.92 billion recorded in 2020 and more than triple the N401.31 billion recorded in 2019.
Wheat is the third most consumed grain in Nigeria after Maize and Rice. The product was the second-highest contributor to Nigeria’s import bill in the review year and the highest imported food item, accounting for 6.2 percent of the total import bill.
The increase in the value of wheat importation reflects the high unmet demand for wheat in the domestic market. In the meantime, the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia has affected the wheat supply chain globally, pushing prices of wheat to record highs.
The current happening suggests that the demand for wheat produced in Nigeria would increase from firms within and outside the country. Before the invasion, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) created the Nigeria Brown Revolution to reduce Wheat importation by 35 percent in 2022. And as of November 2021, the CBN had disbursed N41.2 billion under the Revolution to improve funding of large wheat production.
Aside from funding, the Bank also needs to strengthen partnerships with the Bank of Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture to address the non-financial challenges that lower wheat farmers’ productivity. Through the partnerships, wheat farmers should be coordinated and introduced to farming techniques, efficient post-harvest storage facilities, and modern extension services. These partnerships and interventions should aid in boosting local production and transforming the country into a net exporter of wheat within the next few years.
SOURCE: CSEA AFRICA