NIGERIA – Nigerian flour millers have imported 3.8 million tonnes of wheat valued at US$2.4 billion between July 2023 and April 2024, according to data from the International Grains Council (IGC).

According to the report, these imports represent 49.4 percent of the 7.5 million tonnes imported by West African countries.

This is despite reported economic challenges and a surge in prices, as the price has risen to US$622.50 per tonne from US$528 per tonne within one month in the global market.

Additionally, the report notes that imports by West Africa have accelerated in recent weeks, resulting in accumulated supplies since the start of the season reaching 7.5 million tonnes, a 10 percent increase year-on-year.

Wheat is the third most consumed grain in Nigeria, driven by its rapidly growing population of 213.4 million.

Despite having a substantial arable land area, the country remains one of the largest importers of wheat on the continent.

According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the country spends billions of dollars each year on imports to meet the growing demand.

However, in the recent forecast, the FAS projected a production of 156,000 tonnes of wheat for 2023-24, up 42% from 2022-23, from a harvested area of 130,000 hectares, an increase of 30%.

As a result, FAS slashed Nigeria’s wheat consumption and imports by 10% and 9% respectively. Post estimates marketing year (MY) 2023/24 wheat consumption to decrease to 4.5 million metric tons (MMT) recording a 10 percent decline while Imports to decrease by 9 percent to 4.8 MMT.

In addition, the Nigerian government has announced plans to embark on a strategic initiative aimed at attaining self-reliance in wheat, through the National Wheat Development Programme and the Jigawa state’s wheat programme.

As part of its wheat self-sufficiency drive, the government aims to cultivate 250,000 hectares of wheat during the 2023-24 cropping season by providing 50% input subsidies to assist 250,000 Nigerian wheat farmers in reaching 250,000 hectares under production.

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