Despite embargo on food importation, no fewer than nine vessels have arrived the Lagos Port Complex and Tincan Island Port with 244, 853 tonnes of wheat valued at N23,6billion ($50.1million).
The grain was part of the 5.1million tonnes ordered by the importers for 2021 amid the restriction on food importation
18by the Federal Government as the global price of the grain reached $204 per metric tonne.
Of the imports, five ships have been moored at Lagos Port, discharging 178,358 tonnes, while four vessels with 66,495 tonnes have berthed at Tincan Port due insufficient local production, which has remained static at 60,000 tonnes since 2019.
Russia, the United States, Canada and Australia would supply the bulk of Nigeria’s wheat imports destined for milling before the end of the year.
Nigerian importers prefer Hard Red Winter (HRW), Soft Red Winter (SRW), Hard White Wheat (HWW) and durum varieties.
Finding revealed that Flour Mills of Nigeria is the country’s largest flour miller, while other major importers include Dangote, Honeywell, Olam, and Seaboard Group.
Data released by the United States Department for Agriculture (USDA) revealed that some 936,000 metric tonnes of the grain brands were imported by Nigerian firms from the United States in 2020.
It added that the shares of wheat flour for bread, semolina, pasta and others, remains at 60 per cent, 20 per cent, 10per cent and 10 per cent respectively
This year, data by the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA)’s shipping position revealed that two of the ships have berthed at the Greenview Development Nigeria Limited (GDNL), Lagos Port.
They are LMZ Europa, with 32,400tonnes and Puffin Bulker, 7,260tonnes.
Also arrived at the weekend at the Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited(ABTL) of the port are Desert Challenger laden with 39,475tonnes; Desert Peace, 51,778tonnes and Desert Osprey, 47,445tonnes.
At Tincan Island Port’s JosepDam terminal are Sloman Dispatcher, 4,000tonnes; Puffin Bulker, 21,494tonnes; Dalian Star D, 23,4000tonnes and Asian Pride, 17,601tonnes.
Meanwhile, the current deficit experienced in the country has hindered the Federal Government’s plans to cut wheat importation by 60 per cent by 2025 as the country failed to produce 1.5 million tonnes locally per annum.
Government had said in 2012 that it would increase national production from 300,000 metric tonnes to about two million metric tonnes per annum by 2019.
However, it has failed to meet domestic production as consumption grew from 4.8 million tonnes in 2017 to 5.1million tonnes in 2020.
It would be recalled that wheat farmers in Kano State had entertained fear that they may likely experience shortage of wheat as they could not have access to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme as certified seeds were not made available to them by relevant authorities.
The Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) had lamented over the lateness in accessing of anchor borrowers’ inputs, which the association said had been affecting production.
Its National President, Alhaji Salim Muhammad, noted that it was unfortunate that even with the enrolment of wheat farmers into the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme intervention, wheat farmers still experienced difficulties due to late access to impute disbursement by the scheme.
Wheat production in the country is projected to reach 60,000 tonnes in 2020, unchanged from the previous year’s production figure.
The International Grain Council (IGC) has explained that world wheat production would rise to a record 769 million tonnes in the season.