Food Imports Hit N3trn Over Insecurity, Others – CBN

Food Imports Hit N3trn Over Insecurity, Others – CBN

4 weeks ago
1 min read

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disbursed a substantial $2.13 billion in 2023 for food imports, highlighting persistent challenges in the country’s agricultural sector despite efforts to boost local production.

According to quarterly data from the CBN, the funds were allocated throughout the year, reflecting ongoing demand for imported food items despite Nigeria’s position as a key agricultural hub in Africa.

“We have seen a significant increase in the amount spent on food imports,” remarked Kabir Ibrahim, National President of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria. “While we have reduced imports for some items, overall dependence remains high due to various challenges faced by farmers.”

The latest figures reveal a nuanced picture of Nigeria’s food economy, where despite efforts to curb imports, factors such as infrastructure deficiencies, climate change impacts, and security issues continue to impede progress in local agricultural production.

“We are not entirely free from imports,” Kabir Ibrahim emphasized. “There has been a historical ebb and flow in our reliance on food imports, influenced by factors like insecurity and weather challenges.”

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The surge in food prices, which rose by an average of 34% between April 2023 and April 2024, underscores broader economic concerns. This inflationary trend has been attributed partly to global market dynamics affecting staple foods crucial to sub-Saharan Africa.

Professor Yusuf Muda, Managing Director of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, stressed the importance of accurate data in understanding consumption patterns and import expenditures. “We need comprehensive data on what food items are being imported versus what is locally produced. This clarity is crucial for effective policy decisions.”

Despite government initiatives to restrict food imports as part of broader economic strategies, the $2.13 billion expenditure signals ongoing challenges in achieving food security goals set by international benchmarks like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“The figures for 2023 show a concerning trend,” Professor Yusuf Muda continued. “We must differentiate between essential imports that contribute to local food processing industries and those that could potentially be produced domestically.”

Looking ahead, stakeholders anticipate further pressures on food prices, especially during peak farming seasons when domestic supply traditionally struggles to meet demand. “The upcoming months could exacerbate food scarcity issues,” warned Kabir Ibrahim. “This period coincides with challenges in farming, which may affect food availability and affordability.”

The CBN’s role in managing foreign exchange allocations for food imports remains pivotal amid calls for greater investment in local agricultural infrastructure and technology to enhance productivity and reduce reliance on imports.

However, while Nigeria grapples with economic uncertainties and agricultural challenges, the debate over food imports versus local production intensifies. Stakeholders emphasized the need for a balanced approach that considers both immediate economic needs and long-term sustainability goals in food security.

Emmanuel Ochayi is a journalist. He is a graduate of the University of Lagos, School of first choice and the nations pride. Emmanuel is keen on exploring writing angles in different areas, including Business, climate change, politics, Education, and others.

Emmanuel Ochayi is a journalist. He is a graduate of the University of Lagos, School of first choice and the nations pride. Emmanuel is keen on exploring writing angles in different areas, including Business, climate change, politics, Education, and others.

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