The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has plunged durum wheat importation by N144.59 billion in the first nine months of 2022, the data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has shown.
In the period under review, Nigeria imported durum wheat worth N753.59 billion, down from N898.19 billion reported in the corresponding period of 2021.
Durum wheat is a variety of spring wheat that’s typically ground into semolina and used to make pasta.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the price of durum wheat rose by 50% while its importation has declined by 16%.
Explaining the price differential, Tola Ogunnubi, the National Public Relations Officer, National Wheat Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, said “Before the war, it was selling for N27,000 to N28,000 for 100kg, it is N41,000 to N42,000 now.”
According to NBS, durum wheat is Nigeria’s major agricultural import. However, the ongoing war in Ukraine forced importers to start importing from the U.S. and other countries.
The report said, “The major agriculture goods imported in Q1, 2022 included Durum wheat (not in seeds) were from the United States with N71.56bn and Argentina with N59.04bn.
“The major agriculture goods imported in Q2, 2022 included ‘Durum wheat (not in seeds)’ from the United States of America with N70.67bn and Lithuania with N60.87bn. The major agriculture goods imported in Q3, 2022 included ‘Durum wheat (not in seeds)’ from the United States of America with N78.29bn and Poland with N45.62bn.”
Wheat is used mainly as flour in the production of bread, noodles, pasta and other major food items. Therefore, the decline in wheat importation is responsible for the jump in prices of bread, pasta and other food items.
Ogunnubi said, “Wheat importation is decreasing but it doesn’t mean that we have achieved wheat sufficiency as such. We have wheat still retaining the third position in terms of commodities that engulf the highest FX. It is after refined petrol products and gas.
“Wheat is still the third highest and we are looking at a situation where we have wheat sufficiency just as we’ve had in rice. We are looking forward to the government encouraging wheat farming, and production. We are imploring the government to come into the entire value chain of wheat production. From planting processing, distribution, everything across the full value chain.”
“Wheat is fast becoming a staple food. If people are not eating maize, they are eating bread, flour, spaghetti, which are some of the side products from wheat. So why are not sufficient.
“The crisis in Russia and Ukraine is affecting importation but that does not mean there are no other markets for importation. The durum wheat that we tend to process in Nigeria can be sourced from Mexico. It is not as if people are not looking in that direction, but the CBN is not giving foreign exchange. The CBN is not giving FX for wheat importation.”
Federal Government Revokes 1,633 Mineral Titles Over Non-payment
In a significant move to enforce compliance and revitalize the solid minerals sector, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has taken decisive action by revoking 1,633 mineral titles previously granted to non-compliant mining companies.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, during a press briefing in Abuja.
The revocation of these mineral titles was a result of the mining companies’ failure to fulfill their mandatory annual service fees of N1,500 per cadastral unit.
Alake emphasized that the move aligns with Sections 10, 11, and 12 of the Mining Act, and it is aimed at creating opportunities for potential investors willing to contribute to the sector.
Expressing disappointment at the non-compliance of mining firms, Alake stated, “It is indeed very unconscionable for corporate bodies making huge profits from mining to refuse to give the government its due by failing to pay their annual service fee.”
The minister stressed that the mining companies, despite reaping significant profits from mining activities, failed to meet their financial obligations to the government.
He further highlighted the nominal nature of the annual service fee, emphasizing that it pales in comparison to the revenue projections of these companies.
The revocation process, initiated by the Mining Cadastral Office on October 4, 2023, targeted a total of 2,213 titles, including Exploration titles, Small Scale Mining Licences, Quarry licenses, and Mining Leases.
The notice of revocation was published in the Federal Government Gazette on October 10, 2023.
Alake cautioned those whose licenses had been revoked to vacate mining sites promptly to avoid potential legal actions by security agencies.
The ministry’s commitment to cleaning up the sector for international competitiveness was underscored, signaling a new era for responsible and compliant mining practices in Nigeria.
Rising Rice Consumption Spurs 37% Price Surge, Reveals AFEX Report
A recent report by AFEX, the agricultural commodity trading firm, has brought to light the surge in rice consumption in Nigeria.
The AFEX Wet Season Crop Production Report for 2023 indicates that the country’s rice consumption has been steadily increasing, contributing to a consistent growth in the rice market.
The report highlights a 37% year-to-date increase in the price of rice in 2023.
According to AFEX, despite Nigeria’s potential to be a net rice exporter, it has spent over $15 billion in the past decade to meet the expanding demand for rice.
Globally, rice prices have reached their highest point in nearly 12 years due to factors such as India’s ban on rice exports and potential production disruptions from El Nino in key regions.
In Nigeria, the 37% price surge is attributed to reduced production in 2022 caused by flooding during the wet season.
The report anticipates a 4% increase in rice production and expects the price of paddy rice to rise by around 32%.
While the Northwest region accounts for 72% of the total rice production in Nigeria, the report underscores the need for strategies to bridge the supply gap and ensure sustainable rice production to meet the growing demand in the country.
AFEX Predicts Surge in Commodity Prices as Crop Production Declines
Africa’s leading commodities player, AFEX, unveiled its 2023 Crop Production report in Abuja on Thursday, predicting a surge in commodity prices attributed to declining production and rising demand for processing and exports.
The comprehensive report, which focused on six key commodities (Maize, Paddy Rice, Soybean, Sorghum, Cocoa, and Sesame), utilized farmer surveys and transaction-level data measurements to provide crucial insights into crop production, price trends, and market dynamics.
AFEX anticipates an increase in prices across all commodities, with Paddy Rice experiencing a notable upswing of 34% in the 2022/2023 season. Factors contributing to this surge include increased flooding and the India rice ban.
The baseline pricing of N353,000/mt (per metric ton) is expected to rise to N400,000/mt and stabilize at N480,000 to N500,000/mt by Q3 2023, the report noted.
Highlighting food insecurity and a historic high food inflation rate of 30.64%, the report identifies a 5.7 million metric ton shortage in Nigeria across human consumption and agro-processing.
Nigeria’s Global Hunger Index score remains at 109th out of 125 countries, underscoring a severe food security crisis.
AFEX Nigeria’s President/CEO, Akinyinka Akintunde, emphasized the need for substantial investment in the agricultural sector, addressing infrastructure, logistics, and technology gaps.
The report suggests that the surge in food prices witnessed in the 2023 season will exacerbate these challenges, hindering progress towards achieving Zero Hunger by 2030.
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