In the midst of an ongoing insecurity situation that has hampered farming activity in many regions of the nation, the total value of agricultural items imported into Nigeria in the previous two years has risen to N4.6 trillion.
According to statistics compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) separate Foreign Trade Statistics, Nigeria imported agricultural imports totalling N2.36 trillion from June 2022 to June 2021, with another N2.31 trillion imported between June 2021 and June 2020. Agriculture exports, on the other hand, lagged well behind imports during this time period, totalling N964.24 billion, leaving a trade balance of N3.7 trillion.
Durum wheat leads the agricultural items imported into Nigeria in terms of volume. Among the others were crude palm oil, palm olein, mackerel, edible mixes, herrings, and maize seeds. The Federal Government stated this week that there are numerous prospects in the agricultural industry since more than 56% of potential agricultural land is currently underutilized.
Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, announced this in Jos on Thursday while speaking to participants at the 45th regular meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development.
According to the Minister, “Nigeria is endowed with a total of 79million hectares of agricultural land with only 44 per cent being cultivated. The nation also has 267 billion cubic meters of fresh surface water and 58 billion cubic meters of underground water, with 37 billion cubic meters only stored in dams. Annual rainfall in the country is within 300mm to 4,000mm. Conversely, the potential irrigable area is about 3.14 million hectares with less than 7 per cent utilised presently.”
The Director-General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture, Olusola Obadimu, said Nigeria was underperforming because it had failed to realise the potential of the sector.
Obadimu noted that agriculture was key to having a vibrant manufacturing sector, as the majority of raw materials were harnessed from agricultural products.
He said, “In terms of all the processing we do, it’s either you start from a mineral product or agricultural product, which is why we call them primary industries.”