Despite Federal Government’s huge commitment to economic diversification through increased agricultural production, latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have shown that Nigeria’s agricultural imports as at the end of the 2nd quarter of 2017 rose to N232.1 billion from N200 billion in Q1 2017 and N144.1 billion in Q2, 2016.
According to the NBS data, this represents a 16.05 per cent increase over Q1 2017 and a 61.02 per cent increase over Q2 2016. The data shows that Nigerian imports in Q2 2017 accounted for 8.85 per cent of total imports in the quarter under review.
Newsmen findings reveal that major agriculture imports during the period included Durum wheat seeds worth N40.7 billion from United States, N18.2 billion from Canada and N17.5 billion from Russia, as well as N8.1 billion from Australia.
Meanwhile, the country also imported Blue whiting’s frozen meat valued at N5.5 billion from Netherlands, N2.9 billion from Faroe Islands and N2.1 billion from Russia.
Other agricultural goods imported into the country during the period include maize seed valued at N3.8 billion from Ukraine, N2.4 billion from United States and N1.1 billion from Argentina in Q2 2017. The nation’s import also included crude palm oil valued at N5.2 billion from Indonesia, N1.3 billion from Malaysia and N282 million from Ivory Coast as well as N112.1 million from Ghana respectively. Though the total value of trade in agricultural goods in Q2 2017 stood at N261.92 billion representing 4.60 per cent of total trade in Q2 2017, agriculture exports accounted for 0.96 per cent of total exports in Q2 2017.
On export activities, the data shows that agricultural goods valued at N29.71 billion were exported in Q2; 2017 compared to N30.02 billion in Q1 2017 and N15.31 billion in Q4, 2016. Furthermore, agricultural goods’ exports in Q2 2017 therefore were -1.04 per cent lower than the value in Q1 2017 but 94 per cent higher than the export value in the corresponding period in 2016.
With respect to the continent, agricultural exports in Q2 2017 to Asia stood at 66.38 per cent and Europe, 24.98 per cent with 4.37 per cent, 3.88 per cent and 0.39 per cent exported to the Americas, Africa and the Oceania respectively.
With respect to type of agricultural products, exports in Q2 2016 were driven by cashew nuts, which accounted for N13.5 billion or 45.4 per cent of the total agriculture exports and 1.37 per cent of total exports.
During the quarter under review, the NBS data indicated that raw cashew nuts worth N12.16 billion were exported to Vietnam and the balance of N1.4 billion to India and N6.34 million to Kazakhstan.
However, the data explained that cashew nuts exports were followed by sesame seed exports valued at N7 billion or 23.6 per cent of total agriculture exports.
Meanwhile, sesame seeds exported in Q2 2017 principally to Japan stood at N1.3 billion, India N0.9 billion, Turkey N0.9 billion, South Korea N0.8 billion, China N0.6 billion respectively.
The data revealed that other major agricultural products exported, including frozen shrimps and prawns worth N1.6 billion or 9.6 per cent of total agriculture exports, were exported to Netherlands worth N1.5 billion, Belgium N0.67 billion, United States N0.22 billion, France N0.17 billion and Spain N87 million.
Exports of flour and meals of soybean worth N2.3 billion or 7.8 per cent of agricultural exports were also exported in Q2 2017 to Spain N2.1 billion, Ghana N116.6 million, Senegal N72.9 million, Mauritania N18.1 million and Germany N2 million.
Other agriculture exports in Q2 2017 included ginger worth N663.7 million, flowers N568.5 million, peanuts kernels and other groundnuts N481.3 million, milk and cream powder N282.4 million, among others.