The inability of Nigeria to source grain from its traditional base, Russia and Ukraine, because of war, has made it to join other countries in Africa to source 17.67 million tonnes of soft wheat valued at $7.24billion from France and other European countries. Data from European Commission for the 2022/23 season revealed that Nigeria would take delivery of 1.38million tonnes from France, Romania, Germany, Latvia and Lithuania from January this year.
A tonne of the grain is currently sold for $410 in the global market. It noted that export to African countries had increased by six per cent from 16.63 million tonnes to 17.67 million tonnes as at January 15, 2023. A breakdown of the data showed France remained by far the biggest EU soft wheat exporter this season, with 7.50 million tonnes shipped, followed by Romania and Germany with 2.01 million each, Latvia with 1.62 million and Lithuania with 1.44 million. Besides Nigeria, the commission listed other EU’s top soft wheat export destinations in January 2023 as Morocco with 2.5million tonnes; Algeria, 2.22million tonnes; Egypt, 1.63million tonnes and Saudi Arabia 982,270 tonnes. The commission added that it was still experiencing issues in compiling grain trade figures from Germany and Italy.
In December, 2022, six vessels ferried 197, 209 tonnes of wheat valued at N72billion ($103million) to Nigerian ports for bread, semolina, pasta, noodles and biscuits. Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’s shipping position revealed that at Lagos Port complex, Glovis Maple with 30,000 tonnes and Genco Vigilant, 17,255 tonnes berthed at Greenview Development Nigeria Limited (GDNL), while Desert Ranger and Desert Rhapsody discharged 54,999tonne and 50,620tonnes respectively at Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL). Rivers Port also took delivery of 30,000 tonnes from Stoja, while Petrel Bulker offloaded 14,335 tonnes.
It was gathered that the imports from United States to Nigeria reached $600million in 2022, following the Ukraine and Russian war where Nigeria import durum wheat variety. The country’s millers took delivery of 1.67million tonnes of wheat valued at $526million in 2021 from the country. Also, Nigeria imported 553,000 tonnes of wheat valued at ($289.3million) from India and Argentina in 2022. Argentina supplied 53,000 tonnes and India 500,000 tonnes as price of the grain hit $522 per metric tonne.
The country, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), took delivery of N258,31 billion between January and March, 2022 before the outbreak of Russia-Ukraine war through the nation’s seaports. It would be recalled that the National Wheat Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NAWFPMAN) has said that it would cultivate over 200,000 hectares of wheat this season through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Anchor BorrowersProgramme (ABP).
The ABP scheme, according to CBN, had empowered wheat farmers with the new heat-tolerant varieties of seeds capable of increasing production per hectare to a minimum of four tonnes per hectare. The association stressed the need to meet the cravings of Nigerians in the full value chain of wheat production in the country. The association, which comprises of small holder farmers, processors and marketers across Nigeria, who are major stakeholders in wheat production, benefited in the last Dry Season Wheat Farming CBN intervention of the ABP. National President of the association, Alhaji Adamu Ardo urged the Federal Government to boost wheat production in Nigeria, with a view to helping solve the problem of wheat importation in Nigeria which will help reduce cost of cost of wheat-based products. He explained in Abuja that the association benefited from the CBN’s ABP last season and cultivated over 15,000 hectares of wheat, which was bought by Flour Millers Association of Nigeria (FMAN), adding that the development resulted into cutting down of wheat importation by flour millers to about half of their previous year’s imports. Ardo noted that what the current administration achieved in the area of self sufficiency in rice production could be replicated in wheat production.