NIGER – The Ministry of Internal Trade has published a decree prohibiting, until further notice, the export of millet and rice as the government takes measures to ensure availability of the population’s diet on the local market.
In Niger, cereals are a major source of food. While the world market for this category of foodstuffs is about to experience new troubles, the executive is already taking steps to ensure their availability on the local market.
Millet is the number one cereal grown in Niger with an annual capacity of 3.6 million tonnes as well as the most consumed with a domestic demand of around 3.1 million tons per year.
With regard to rice, local production is negligible at just 83,000 and the country depends up to 80% on imports to meet its consumption needs, which amount to more than 500,000 tonnes of milled rice per year.
However, the country is facing cereal price inflation due to reliance on imports. In addition, the winter campaign is marked this year by a late start to the rains, dry spells, and a deterioration in security in certain regions of the country.
According to the state, this initiative will ensure the regular supply of cereals in the national market and should make it possible to curb the risk of inflation of food products.
The ministry vested the customs, the military, and law reinforcement forces with the power to ensure the implementation of the ban and tackle any breach.
“The agents of the Ministry of Commerce, the customs agents, the defense and security forces, are empowered to observe and repress violations of the provisions of this decree in accordance with the texts in force”, read the document.
The announcement comes as the world cereals market is expected to experience further disruption, particularly with Russia’s decision to withdraw from the agreement on the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
In addition, the country is taking precautions following expected global supply distress after India, the world’s largest exporter of rice, on July 20 restricted its shipment of non-basmati white rice by nearly 45%.