Poland Leads Nigerian Wheat Imports
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Wheat is the third most consumed grain in Nigeria after corn and rice. The country’s population growth is driving Wheat consumption. Nigeria is a net importer of Wheat. It only managed to produce about two percent of all the Wheat it consumed. The country imposes a 5 percent tariff on Wheat imports and an additional 15 percent levy (earmarked for the national Wheat development program) for a total of 20 percent duty. Despite the preferences of Nigerian millers for imported Wheat, there is a constant Government focus on reducing Wheat imports by 50 percent. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Central bank have underscored their commitments to reduce Wheat imports, enhance food security, and conserve foreign exchange. The central bank works with flour millers on backward integration projects to enhance Wheat self-sufficiency.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates Wheat production to be 110,000 metric tons for MY2022/23. The yield remains flat at 1.1 metric tons per ha. Nigerian farmers and policymakers face severe challenges to increasing production and area under cultivation. Government policies and programs to boost production are ineffective. The programs failed to reach their targets due to a lack of funding for regular seed production and multiplication, insurgency in the Wheat growing areas, lack of input supply to farmers, and limited area under cultivation.
USDA forecasts Wheat consumption at 5.8 million metric tons for MY2022/23. The Russia-Ukraine war and COVID-19 pandemic have exposed Nigeria’s vulnerable food system. Before the war, the country imported significant Wheat from Russia and other Black Sea countries. Bread is a staple for millions of Nigerians. However, millers are facing severe business challenges amid the increasing cost of freight and energy.
Wheat-based product consumption is related to the economy’s performance and the purchasing power of consumers – both are under increased inflationary pressures. Rises in the price of bread and other Wheat-based products have made consumers increase demand for substitutes/other staple foods like maize, yam, and sweet potato products that are relatively affordable.
Nigerian bakeries are expecting a protracted Russia-Ukraine war. As a result, bakeries are exploring the options of blending Wheat with cassava flour, millet flour, and sweet potato flour. Over the past decade, the Government has pushed for mixed cassava flour in bread, hoping the policy would significantly reduce Wheat imports. Meanwhile, the Government’s cassava flour blending policy is still in play. The policy calls for cassava flour blending up to 40 percent. However, millers do not support the policy because cassava flour does not blend well with Wheat flour to produce good-quality dough.
Wheat Import in Nigeria
USDA estimates 2022/23 season Wheat imports at 6 million metric tons, a 3 percent decrease compared to the last season. The Ukraine-Russia war contributed to the decline in Wheat imports. In 2021, Nigeria imported 51 percent of Wheat demand from Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, and other Baltic countries. According to AgFlow data, Nigeria imported 0.1 million tons of Wheat from Poland in Feb, followed by Latvia (85,841 tons), Lithuania (68,500 tons), and Canada (50,000 tons).
The Russia-Ukraine war has prompted Nigerian officials to collaborate with the private sector in diversifying the country’s Wheat sources. The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment approved Crown Flour Mill’s request to import Wheat from India. The disruption of the global Wheat supply chain and local production challenges pressed public and private stakeholders to seek alternative Wheat sources. Nigeria Wheat millers have diversified their Wheat sourcing to be not limited to specific countries. For example, during the first half of 2022, Nigeria’s Wheat imports came mainly from North and South America.
Other sources: MILLERS MAGAZINE
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