Nigeria imports N163bn wheat from U.S.


Barely two weeks into the New Year have seven vessels arrived three Nigerian ports with 212,425 tons of wheat, even as local production dropped to 60,000 tons from 65,000 tons in the last three years.

Nigeria had already taken delivery of 1.77 million tons or N163 billion ($804.6 million) worth of the grain between 2015 and 2017 from United States U.S.

At the Lagos Port Complex this week, Greenview Development Nigerian Limited (GDNL) terminal, Kiana and Genco Rhone berthed with 29,700 tons and 42,000 tons of wheat respectively.

Also, at the Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL) of the port complex, two ships have been moored to discharge 82,000 tons.

The ships are Desert Osprey with 42,000 tons and Atlantic Eagle, 40,000 tons. Karteria and Wide Rose have arrived JosepDam at Tincan Island Port with 20,200 tons and 22,525 tons respectively, while Desert Calm is being expected to arrive with 16,000 tons at Calabar Port this week.

Meanwhile, plans by the Federal Government to cut importation of wheat by 50 per cent since 2017 had been defeated as local production dwindled continuously.

In 2017, the country imported 4.5 million metric tons of the grain valued at $2.05 billion at the global price of $454.6 per metric ton.

Currently, the country’s production stands at 60,000 metric tons instead of the proposed 1.5 million metric tons in 2017 plans under the Federal Government’s wheat transformation agenda.

Government had said that it would increase national production from 300,000 metric tons to about 1.5 million metric tons per annum by 2017 and generate one million jobs in the rural areas.

It was gathered that Nigeria’s wheat production had remained static at 60,000 tons per annual since 2015.

Currently, the country can only meet two per cent of the national demand as wheat growers have fled their farms due to the activities of Boko Haram in the northern parts of the country.

According to U.S. Census Trade Data report, Nigeria, the third largest U.S. wheat consumer, buys nearly 10 per cent of total U.S. wheat exports, with nearly $700 million in 2014.

As U.S. market share for Nigeria’s wheat imports increases, it was gathered that farmers were shifting from corn production because of unprofitable market prices and lack of storage facilities for maize.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government, in 2014, increased wheat imports duty from five per cent to 20 per cent to cut imports. Government also introduced 65 per cent levy on wheat flour imports and raised duty from 35 per cent to 100 per cent.


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