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Home Opinions Insight & Analysis Nigeria’s Rice Importation Falls by 94%, Smuggling & Flood Pose Huge Threats
Insight & Analysis - October 24, 2022

Nigeria’s Rice Importation Falls by 94%, Smuggling & Flood Pose Huge Threats

Nigerian rice importation has dropped by 98.4%. The nation currently imported 15 metric tonnes from the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA) between January and July 2022. 

In comparison to 2021, when 957 metric tonnes were imported during the same period, this year’s decline was drastic. 

This information is based on TREA statistics for the period of January to July 2022.

Even though rice importers paid less than a million Thai Baht, Nigeria’s rice importation from the association dropped to its lowest level throughout the review period. Nigeria spent ฿30 million overall and 15 million over this same similar time in 2021.

Following Federal Government initiatives to cut imports and boost domestic production, Nigeria’s imports of rice have decreased dramatically in recent years.

From 1.24 million MT of rice imported in 2014 to 244,131 MT in 2015 and 58,260 MT in 2016, there has been a substantial fall, according to historical statistics. 

Since then, the importation of rice has continued to decline. This came after the inclusion of rice on the list of 41 goods from the CBN’s Foreign Exchange Window that was ineligible for foreign exchange.

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A ban on increasing local production

In 2015, the CBN, acting on behalf of the Federal Government, prohibited 41 imported goods, including rice, from being purchased. 

Furthermore, the government prohibited the import of rice across land borders and maintained a significant 70% charge on imports made through ports. These steps were implemented in an effort to reduce imports and promote domestic manufacturing.

Despite official efforts to crack down on these illicit importations, there have been instances of rice being smuggled into the nation across land borders. 

About 2 million metric tonnes of rice are imported or smuggled into the nation, according to a 2021 report by the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

Despite having a population of less than 6% of Nigeria’s 216 million people, a study of the amount of rice imported by the Benin Republic in 2016 revealed a dramatic surge. 

The issue of how much rice is consumed in this small populated country hints that it could be a front for smuggling.

Flood-threatening rice farming 

The country’s ongoing flooding is presently threatening the recent advancements made in Nigeria’s rice processing sector. Olam’s rice field, valued over $15 million, was swamped by the floodwaters, severely harming this year’s rice production.

As a result, the cost of a 50kg bag of domestic rice at significant markets in Lagos State has increased to above N37,000. 

Similar to this, a 50kg bag of imported rice is currently selling for an average of N40,000 due to a shortage of supply and an increase in demand, particularly with the impending Yuletide season.

Given the significance of rice in Nigeria’s food supply chain and the ongoing prohibition on importing foreign rice over land borders, Nigeria is at risk of going through a food crisis.

In an effort to protect themselves from potential price rises later in the year, Nigerians are already purchasing bags of rice in a panic. 

Given the increase in demand at that time, RiceAfrika Technologies’ founder and CEO Ibrahim Maigari Ahmadu predicts that the price of rice might reach to N40,000 by the end of the year.

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