Wheat Importation: Nigeria spends over $2bn annually – CBN
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says Nigeria spends over $2bn annually on importation of wheat, the third most widely consumed grain in Nigeria, while highlighting it as the reason for the exchange rate imbalance in the country.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Mr Edward Lamtek Adamu, disclosed this at the flag-off of the first-ever rain-fed wheat programme held in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
The CBN also stated that this issue would be addressed through the wheat value chain intervention programme captured under the Nigerian Brown Revolution, which is an offshoot of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
Emefiele mentioned that through the Nigerian Brown Revolution, the apex bank seeks to save $2 billion spent on importing five million metric tons of wheat annually.
“Wheat is the third most widely consumed grain in Nigeria after maize and rice. It is estimated that the country only produces about one percent (63,000 metric tons) of the 5-6 million metric tons of the commodity consumed annually in Nigeria.
“This enormous demand-supply gap is bridged with over $2 billion spent annually on wheat importation. This has made wheat the second highest contributor to the country’s food import bill.”
He added that unless addressed, the increasing demand would add more problems to the country’s reserves.
“Given the high growth rate of the country’s population and the demographic structure, the demand for wheat is projected to continue to rise. This can only intensify pressure on the country’s reserves unless we take a decisive step to grow wheat locally.”
According to him, the ABP has had success in assisting smallholder farmers in expanding their crop production across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Through the programme, N788.035 billion has been disbursed to about four million farmers through 23 Participating Financial Institutions (PFI). So far, 4.796 million hectares of farmlands have been cultivated under the programme covering 21 commodities,” he added.
Amaka E. Nliam/Nairametrics