Import dependency hurting Nigerian farmers, says NIPC
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) says import dependency is hurting Nigerian farmers by displacing local production and creating unemployment.
According to a report by the commission, the country still imports what it can produce in abundance.
“Despite the fact that 60 per cent of Nigeria’s population were farmers, it imports over 11 billion dollars worth of rice, sugar, wheat and fish every year.
“Also, the food imports are growing at an unsustainable rate of 11 per cent per annum,’’ NIPC stated in the report.
The commission, however, said that the Federal Government had taken steps to cut down importation and increase local production.
The NIPC also stated that government was adopting a full value-chain approach from farm to table as well as putting in place a private sector-driven agribusiness sector.
According to the commission, the country is well positioned to produce large quantities of rice.
It said that domestic demand for rice is projected to grow to over eight million metric tonnes by 2020.
“If imports continue to be used to meet demand, it will cost Nigeria around 3.5 billion dollars by 2020.
“This provides an ample investment opportunity in the rice sub-sector to boost local production,’’ it stated.
For sugar, the NIPC report stated that government had considered sugarcane cultivation and sugar production as one of the strategic industries of the economy.
“The government, through the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), has developed a road map for the attainment of self-sufficiency in sugar within the shortest time possible.
“The plan estimates that the nation’s demand for sugar will reach the 1.7 million metric tons mark by 2020,’’ it stated.
The commission also stated that government had enacted a number of policy instruments comprising of fiscal incentives and tariffs.
Others, it said, included a mandatory import substitution regime otherwise known as the Backward Integration Programme (BIP)..
For wheat, the NIPC stated that Nigeria currently imports four million metric tonnes of wheat, spending about four billion dollars on the commodity every year.
It noted that such figure was expected to reach $10 billion by 2030.
“With the tropical wheat varieties that are presently available in the country and at the high yields being obtained, it is profitable and economically viable to produce wheat in Nigeria,’’ it noted.
For fish, the NIPC report stated that the increasing demand for it is being driven by a rising middle class and changes in the Nigerian diet.
“This has resulted in a strong supply response from the fishing industry, with most of the demand being met by imports and making Nigeria the largest importer of fish in Africa.
“The demand for fresh fish has exceeded supply with little room to increase the catch from rivers and lakes.
“The only realistic way to increase supply is through fish aquaculture,’’ NIPC said in the report.