Wednesday, June 23, 2021

    Nigeria’s corn, wheat imports to rise due to domestic shortfall: USDA

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    Godwin Okafor
    Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

    Nigeria’s corn and wheat imports are set to rise in the 2021/22 marketing year as smaller domestic output and rising demand means supply will have to be supplemented with overseas volumes, the USDA’s office in Lagos said Thursday.

    The USDA’s local attache expects corn imports to double in the 2021/22 marketing year to 1 million mt, with consumption at 12.1 million mt up 3% year-on-year from the USDA’s official figure.

    That comes as local output is expected to drop 4% from the USDA’s official figure to 11 million mt due to the security situation in the north of the country.

    Thursday’s report comes in the week following the central bank’s decision to halt US dollar funding for wheat imports, a policy that is likely to force local traders and millers to turn to private funding rather than rely on local production of just 55,000 mt.

    The difficulty of securing dollar funding for overseas imports has already shown signs of affecting demand for wheat products prior to last week’s policy shift, with bread prices estimated to have risen by as much as 15% over the past year.

    “Many households are already using yams, plantain, sweet potato, and garri (cassava products) as substitutes for bread… Bread loaves are staying longer on retail shelves and consumers are not purchasing the same amounts as before,” the report said.

    Despite evidence of lower per capita consumption, the USDA’s Lagos office expects consumption to rise 10% year-on-year to 4.9 million mt.

    Feeding that rise will be imports at 5 million mt, up from the 2020/21 marketing year’s 4.9 million mt – although the figure that was cut 600,000 mt from the USDA’s official estimate.

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