Nigeria’s rice imports will jump 13 percent next year to 3.4 million metric tons, making Africa’s most populous country the world’s biggest rice importer after China, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“China and Nigeria are projected to remain the largest rice importing countries in 2019, followed by the EU, Cote d’Ivoire, and Iran,” the USDA said in its latest Rice Outlook released Tuesday. “Nigeria and Egypt are projected to account for the bulk of the 2019 import increase.”
“Nigeria and Egypt are projected to account for the bulk of the 2019 import increase. Imports in 2019 are also projected to be larger than a year earlier for Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, EU, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
The projected growth is a matter of concern for the federal government, which plans to stop rice imports by the end of this year to save foreign currency.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) supported the course by restricting forex for rice importation and introduced the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CAC) to fast-track the development of the agricultural sector; enhance national food security; reduce the cost of credit in agricultural production; increase national output; generate employment; and raise the level of foreign exchange earnings of the country.