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Nigeria’ll be Second Biggest Rice Importer in 2019 –USDA

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Rice
  • Nigeria’ll be Second Biggest Rice Importer in 2019 –USDA

Nigeria’s rice imports will rise by 13 per cent next year to 3.4 million metric tons, making the country the world’s biggest rice importer after China, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

“China and Nigeria are projected to remain the largest rice importing countries in 2019, followed by the European Union, Cote d’Ivoire, and Iran,” the USDA said in its latest Rice Outlook released on Tuesday.

“Nigeria and Egypt are projected to account for the bulk of the 2019 import increase,” it added.

The forecast growth is a setback for the Nigerian government, which plans to stop rice imports by the end of this year to save foreign currency.

Production had increased more than 50 per cent since 2012 to 3.7 million tons last year. Domestic demand rose by four per cent to 6.7 million tons in the 2017-18 year that ended in May.

President Muhammadu Buhari wants to diversify Nigeria’s economy away from hydrocarbons, and agriculture is one of the sectors he has bet on.

The economy of the country, Africa’s biggest oil producer, is still recovering from a slump in 2016, after the crash in crude prices.

Rice farmers in Nigeria have reported a drop in output since last year due to a combination of higher input costs, insecurity and widespread flooding in the main growing regions. At the same time, people are giving up traditional coarse grains in favour of rice in the country of almost 200 million people.

“The rain has not been favourable to rice farmers this year,” Mohammed Sahabi, Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria in Kebbi, one of the main rice-growing states, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

“We lost more than 20,000 hectares of unharvested rice this year in Kebbi alone,” he added.

Last month, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the heavy flood in about 14 states might lead to a shortage of rice across the country next year.

Ogbeh warned that if adequate measures were not taken to replant the rice affected by severe flood in some states, Nigeria might experience a shortage of the staple by 2019.

He stated these at the inauguration of the National Agricultural Seed Council Molecular Facility and the 2018 Seed Fair and Farmers’ Field Day in Abuja on Thursday.

He said the flood affected some major rice-producing states, and this might be risky in terms of rice availability in the country if not addressed.

Current global production exceeds consumption by 2.3 million tons, according to USDA, with 2018-19 “global ending stocks” projected to reach 163 million tons, 17.8 million tons more than previously forecast.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Presidential CNG Initiative Allocates N100bn for CNG Buses and EV Adoption

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powergas

The Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative has allocated N100 billion to expedite the deployment of CNG buses nationwide, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

The initiative, designed to catalyze an Auto-gas and Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution in mass transit and transportation, aims to enhance sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

The statement revealed that the fund would be instrumental in supporting the adoption of auto-gas and electric vehicles, signaling a commitment to a more sustainable and economical future in the transportation sector.

The Presidential CNG Initiative plans to leverage over 11,500 CNG and electric-fueled vehicles, along with the deployment of 55,000 conversion kits.

This strategic approach is intended to reduce transportation costs for Nigerians and mitigate the challenges posed by the rising cost of living.

Under the Renewed Hope Agenda, the Presidential CNG Initiative is dedicated to realizing the President’s vision, guided by its steering committee led by FIRS Chairman Zacch Adedeji.

The statement highlighted recent achievements, including strategic technical partnerships and the ongoing commissioning of CNG Conversion centers in key states such as Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ogun, and Rivers.

Several more centers are slated for commissioning in the coming weeks, reflecting the initiative’s momentum and commitment to achieving its objectives.

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Nigeria’s Power Transformation: 53 Projects Worth N122bn on Track for May 2024 Completion

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and power distribution companies, is set to complete 53 power projects by May next year.

Valued at N122 billion, these projects aim to add over 1,000 megawatts to TCN’s wheeling capacity.

During a recent tour of three ongoing projects in Lagos, TCN’s Programme Coordinator, Mathew Ajibade, assured that the projects were not abandoned, refuting speculations.

He confirmed that work is progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed by May 2024, as initially planned.

Assistant Director/Head of Infrastructure Finance Office at the CBN, Tumba Tijani, highlighted the CBN’s support for the power sector, revealing that the bank released a loan at a 9% interest rate in August last year for the projects.

The funding, part of the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility-3, amounts to N122,289,344 and aims to address transmission/distribution bottlenecks, enhance supply to end-users, and unlock unutilized generation capacity.

Tijani disclosed that N85.43 billion has been disbursed into the Advance Payment Guarantee account of the 53 contractors responsible for executing the projects.

The comprehensive project list includes the delivery of power transformers, re-conductoring existing transmission lines, upgrading existing substations, and constructing 33KV line bays.

The initiative reflects a concerted effort to enhance Nigeria’s power infrastructure and meet growing energy demands.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Untapped Coffee Sector Holds the Key to $2 Billion Annual Revenue

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People stand in front of coffeeshops in Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam

Amidst declining foreign reserves and the need for alternative revenue streams, Nigeria’s overlooked coffee industry emerges as a potential powerhouse capable of contributing over $2 billion annually to foreign exchange earnings.

Industry experts emphasize the necessity for strategic investments and modernized farming practices to unlock the full economic potential of the coffee sector.

While Nigeria is not among the top 10 coffee producers in Africa, the country’s untapped coffee industry holds the promise of significant financial gains, job creation, and sustainable agricultural development.

The urgency for revitalization comes as Nigeria grapples with a decline in foreign reserves, dropping from $38.25 billion in September 2022 to $33.23 billion in the third quarter of 2023.

Salihu Imam, Chairman of the National Coffee and Tea Association of Nigeria, Oyo State, highlighted the global significance of coffee, stating, “Coffee is the second most traded/valuable of all commodities and first in Agricultural commodities in the world.”

The potential economic impact extends beyond immediate financial gains, with Nigeria positioning itself as a key player in the global coffee trade.

Despite its potential, Nigeria’s coffee exports remain modest, producing less than one million bags annually.

In contrast, Ethiopia, the largest coffee exporter in Africa, is projected to produce 8.25 million bags. Experts suggest that Nigeria, with its unique coffee varieties, could generate $2 billion annually.

Segun Lary-Lean, President of the West Africa Specialty Coffee Association, emphasized the robust global demand for coffee, comparing it to water in Western countries.

He noted the significant earnings of coffee-producing nations like Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, and Kenya, which experienced a 17% increase in coffee earnings.

In a call to action, industry players urge the Federal Government to prioritize strategic investments, modernized farming practices, and value-added processing to harness the coffee sector’s full economic benefits.

Unlocking the potential of Nigeria’s coffee industry stands not only as a financial opportunity but as a catalyst for broader economic growth and diversification.

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