According to the United States Department of Agricultures report on April 2022, said Nigeria import dependence could be costly at this time.
“On the international front, the conflict in Ukraine could threaten Nigeria’s food security posture. Nigeria imports low quality wheat from Russia and other surrounding Black Sea countries, the escalation of the crisis could lead to increase in wheat imports prices which could have a multiplier impact on the price wheat -based -products- most importantly Bread, noodles and biscuits.”
Flour millers have continued to battle with the rising cost of production and low local wheat production, The expert said millers and bakers have come under intense cost pressure as the price of all important grain continues to skyrocket in the international market and freight charges have spiralled out of control.
The rising cost have passed down to baker’s as well as the hardship and cost of living index of the hard pressed local consumers who continue to beat the burden of the increase in the prices of wheat derivative food and household staples. Naira fall by over 15 per cent in the official market and over 20 per cent in the parallel market in two years, but insurgents and bandits in the north have also sacked farmers of wheat and other crops, leading to supply chain disruptions.
The Economists said , the difference in the two years could be attributed to the fall of the nation’s currency and insecurity that led to little or no production in the northern Nigeria for a number of years.
Dr Muda Yusuf, The Chief Executive Officer of Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, said “If you imported with $1m in 2020 and you imported with $1m in 2021, the amount of the money would not be the same in naira in the two years due to naira devaluation.” Also noted that, the Central Bank of Nigeria was making efforts to bolster the growth of the crop by asking flour millers to invest in backward integration.
“But we have not made much success. Some players acquired massive plots of plans to embark on backward integration but while they were trying to do that, insecurity and community issues started,” said Yusuf.
But Chairman of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria Lagos State, chapter, Raji Omotunde, said wheat importation was so high due to low productivity, noting that bakers were suffering due to high wheat prices.
“Millers have been increasing their prices,the price of a 50kg bag of wheat has risen from over N20,000 to N27,000. The price of a 50kg bag of sugar has also risen from N22,000 to N26,000. Diesel price has also risen. We are not just increasing prices because Bread is something everybody should afford, and we have been so considerate about that” he said.
Wheat price have risen by over 60 per cent this year due to Russia invasion of Ukraine, account for one-thirds of global wheat exports. Countries like India are rumoured to be planning to ban wheat exports due to uncertainties in the global market, and Nigeria will likely bear the brunt.
“Since war started, there is nowhere to get wheat, it is having an adverse effect on Nigeria and there is shortage,” said Omotunde.