The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed that wheat imports cost the country about $2 billion per year, putting pressure on the country’s food import bill.

When asked about the country’s food import bill, the central bank stated that wheat was the second-largest contributor, accounting for over five million Metric Tons (MT) imported each year.

The central bank, on the other hand, reiterated its commitment to addressing existing challenges in the wheat value chain as part of efforts to shore up the country’s foreign reserves.

Mr. Philip Yila Yusuf, CBN Director, Development Finance Department, announced this at the Wheat Conference and Stakeholder Engagement, with the theme: “Improving and Sustaining the Wheat Value Chain Development in Nigeria,” in Abuja.

He stated that the wheat value chain had enormous potential for ground-breaking impact in the agricultural sector and that the central bank would focus attention on the commodity value chain for 2021/2022 dry season planting after making sustainable progress across the rice and maize value chains.

$2bn Spent On Wheat Importation Annually- CBN

The CBN director also estimated that only 1%, or 63,000MT, of the 5-6 MT consumed annually was produced locally.

He stated that the CBN intervention had become critical due to the country’s high demand for wheat and inability to meet that demand.

While acknowledging the bank’s enormous challenge, which would necessitate concerted efforts to address, he assured stakeholders of the CBN’s readiness to change the narrative in the sector by collaborating with relevant industry players.

However, Mohammed Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, expressed disappointment that the country’s wheat imports had continued to rise in recent years, urging stakeholders to work together to reverse the trend by investing more in the value chain.

Speaking at the event, Kano State Governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje urged wheat value chain stakeholders to be transparent in their dealings and to begin planning.

The governor praised the CBN for its efforts to strengthen the commodity value chain and urged the bank to move quickly in releasing funds.

Ganduje, who was represented by Kano State Deputy Governor Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, emphasized the importance of collaboration among stakeholders in wheat production value chains in advancing the country’s goal of becoming self-sufficient in wheat production.

Earlier in March, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele stated that the bank remained committed to increasing local wheat production and reducing imports by 60% over the next two years.

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