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Food Imports Hit ₦‎3 Trillion Over Flooding, Insecurity – CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria released a total sum of $2.13bn to Nigerians for importing food products in 2023.

According to the quarterly statistics of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the forex release showed that there was consistent demand from foreign countries despite being touted as the food basket of Africa.

This came as the average price of imported food commodities to Nigeria rose to its highest level, reaching 34 per cent in one year between April 2023 and April 2024.

The rise in food prices in sub-Saharan Africa, is partly due to global factors, as the region imports most of its top staple foods.

The high food import bill is a concern for Nigeria’s economy. The country has a large agricultural sector, and there have been efforts to boost local production to reduce the dependence on food imports. However, factors such as inadequate infrastructure, insecurity, and climate change have hindered progress in the sector.

The Federal Government had also ruled out the importation of food as part of strategies to address the high costs of foodstuffs and the economic hardship troubling the country.

But the staggering sum, experts say, is a clear demonstration that the Nigerian government is yet to put the nation on the right path of eradicating hunger by 2030 as stipulated by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

A breakdown for 2023 showed that $245.7m was disbursed for food import in January, $163.6m in February, $268.4m in March, $240.9m in April, $238.3m in May and $206.1m in June.

In July 2023, the apex bank disbursed $58m for food importation, $95.3m in August, $119.9m in September, $132.4m in October, $235.9m in November and $126.2m in December.

Comparatively, the figure was $644,000 or 23 per cent less than a $2.7bn disbursed by the apex bank for food importation.

In the April 2024 food inflation report, the NBS said the increase of 15.92 per cent to 40.53 per cent was caused by price surge of, “millet flour, garri, bread, wheat Flour prepacked, semolina (which are under bread and cereals class), yam tuber, water yam, cocoyam (under potatoes, yam and other tubers class), coconut oil, palm kernel oil, vegetable oil, etc (under oil and fat), dried fish sardine, catfish dried, mudfish dried (under fish class), beef head, beef feet, liver, frozen chicken (under meat class), mango, banana, grapefruit (under fruit class), Lipton tea, Bournvita, Milo (under coffee, tea and Cocoa Class).”

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