Noodles and flour producers have spent huge sum on foreign wheat import
Bayo Akomolafe Nigerian flour millers have imported 7. 25million tonnes of wheat valued at N1.01trillion ($2.31 billion) between January 2019 and June 2020. Also, despite the sudden hike in price of wheat by 20.03 per cent in Russia, millers using Lagos and Rivers ports are expecting 159, 791 tonnes of the grain valued at N22.4billion ($49.7million) this week.
The price of the grain had jumped from $222 to $311 per tonne in between July and August, 2020 because of low output in Europe and United States, leading to strong demand among the importing countries. It was learnt that a no-deal Brexit may further increase the possibility of an import duty of £79 per tonne being applied to wheat from the European Union from January, 2021 in light of the coronavirus created recession.
Wheat is used by Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN), Kings Flour Mill, Honeywell Flour Mill, Crown Flour Mill (CFM) and Dufil Group (De United) to produce noodles, wheat flour, semo and other food. Record by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’s shipping position indicated that West Bay 22,000 tonnes and Star Dorado, 13, 200tonnes are expected at Greenview Development Nigeria Limited (GDNL)and SFM at the Lagos Port Complex respectively.
Also, the Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL) will take delivery of 52, 500 tonnes from Desert Osprey: Desert Moon, 48,951.42tonnes; Desert Spring, 36, 470 tonnes. In February alone, USDA said that the country ferried 132,800 tonnes, noting that about 168, 690 tonnes were shipped to Lagos Port complex and Calabar Port.
Rivers Port in Port Harcourt is expecting 18, 920 tonnes from Galene M and Baltic Mantis, 15,000 tonnes. The USDA explained the country has spent $1.2billion in 2016; $1.5billion in 2017 and 2018, $1.65billion, making the country one of the top buyers of Hard Red Winter (HRW) and Soft Red Winter (SRW) wheat the global market.
Data by USDA revealed that the country ordered for 936,000 tonnes of wheat as at October, 2019 from United States as against 569,000tonnes imported in 2018 in the same period. It would be recalled that the National President of the Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN), Alhaji Salim Mohammed said that lack of quality seeds had been the major challenge of the crop in Nigeria.
He noted that if the government could finance research institutes to come up with new varieties every two years, it would sustain production and keep the farmers in business.
Also, the wheat farmers in Kano State have entertained fear that they may likely experience shortage of wheat this year as they could not have access to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s intervention under the Anchor Borrowers scheme.
Meanwhile, the current deficit experienced in the country has hindered the Federal Government’s plans to cut wheat importation by 60 per cent by 2025 as the country failed to produce 1.5 million tonnes locally per annum.
Government had said in 2012 that it would increase national production from 300,000metric tonnes to about two million metric tonnes per annum by 2019 but uptill 2020, production has not exceeded 60,000 tonnes per annum.