Nigeria’s agricultural imports continued to take an upward trajectory, hitting N2.7tn in 2021.
This is coming despite spending no less than N129.084bn on agriculture loans to farmers.
According to findings by our correspondent, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Government, through the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF), has guaranteed a total of N129.084bn in agriculture loans to farmers in the country.
Figures by the National Bureau of Statistics in a recent report titled “Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics” also revealed that in 2021, Nigeria’s agric imports stood at N2.7tn, indicating an increase of 36.6 per cent over the previous year, when compared to the value recorded in 2020 (N1.7tn).
The Chairman, ACGSF Board, Mr. Stephen Okon, said a total of N129.084 had been spent on agricultural loans to farmers.
He said, “The ACGSF scheme has proved relatively successful in de-risking the agricultural sector in Nigeria as evidenced in the number of loans guaranteed from inception to date. A total of 1,224,795 loan beneficiaries valued N129.084bn were guaranteed from inception to February 2022. “
However, despite the substantial investment in agriculture, Nigeria’s agricultural exports, according to available statistics, continue to trend upwards on a year-on-year basis.
According to figures sourced from four quarterly foreign trade reports by the NBS, during the period in review, Nigeria, despite investing billions of naira into the agricultural sector, only managed exports worth N504.4bn, leaving a balance of trade of -N2.2tn.
Also, a cursory breakdown of imports revealed that in Q4 alone, Nigeria imported various agricultural products like palm oil, wheat and other items to the tune of N300.21bn, a development that threatens local production of products that are produced locally in exportable quantities.
“The major agriculture goods imported in Q4, 2021 included Durum wheat (not in seeds) from the United Arab Emirates (N174.80bn) and Lithuania (N57.21bn). This was followed by crude palm oil from China valued at N20.28bn and from Malaysia (N16.49bn) . Palm Olein worth N31.43bn was imported from Malaysia,” an NBS report said.