NIGERIA – The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has predicted a decline in Nigeria’s corn and rice production in the 2024-25 marketing year, by 8% and 7% respectively.

According to the report, corn production would decline to 11 million tonnes (8%) and rice output to decrease by 7% to 4.8 million tonnes.

The USDA attributes the decline to rising insecurity in grain-producing regions and higher input costs affecting planting decisions.

The “bandit” conflict in northwestern Nigeria, an ongoing dispute between the federal government and various gangs and ethnic militias, has caused some farmers to be displaced, forced to pay for protection and have their harvests taxed from extralegal actors,” the report said.

Another factor hindering the production of those crops, the report noted, is widespread inflation on items such as wholesale commodities, animal feed, food, fuel, energy and agricultural inputs, which has led to reduced planting intentions.

However, the report noted that the wheat crop is expected to buck this downward trend, with output forecast to increase by 5% in 2024-25 to 126,000 tonnes.

“This increase is attributed to renewed government interest in wheat production through the Wheat Dry Season Farming initiative under the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-Pocket Project, which allocated 40,000 hectares for wheat production in Jigawa state and 50% input subsidies to producers,” the FAS said.

Because of numerous economic challenges, including food inflation, grain consumption in Nigeria is projected to decline in 2024-25, with utilization of corn and wheat each projected to decrease by 9% to 11.5 million and 4.2 million tonnes, respectively.

The prediction comes after a recent report by AFEX, a leading commodities market player, which projected an increase in maize and paddy rice prices by 25% and 40%, respectively, within Nigeria in 2024.

The increase was attributed to reduced input usage and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on fertiliser prices.

The report noted that the price of maize in Nigeria has been highly volatile, reaching a high of N550,000 (US$612) per metric tonne in the third quarter of 2023, before falling to N480,000 (US$534) per metric tonne by the end of the year.

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