Despite Ukraine’s strained relationship with Russia, the Federal Government has ordered the import of at least 25,000 metric tonnes of wheat from Ukraine.
Importation of wheat, according to some estimates, is $4 billion per annum, having become the highest single imported commodity for Nigeria for over a decade.
Aside from wheat, Nigeria expects an unspecified amount of potassium from Russia, which is a byproduct of fertilizer production in Nigeria.
While Ukrainian wheat is currently on its way to Nigeria, talks between Russia and the Nigerian government about potassium imports are still ongoing, according to the Minister.
According to Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the ship carrying the wheat is expected to berth in Port Harcourt, from where it will be distributed across Nigeria and neighboring African countries.
He explained that Nigeria may become a hub for accessing wheat, especially with the strained relationship between Ukraine and Russia.
Last year August, he said Nigeria spent $6bn on the importation of wheat into the country between 2016 and 2020, a period of five years.
He stated that with the growing population and consumption rate of wheat and its products, Nigeria had no option but to boost its productivity to meet the country’s increasing demand.
Abubakar said, “The wheat industry has been of serious concern to the Federal Government. This is because the national requirement for wheat is 5.7 million metric tonnes annually, while our production is 420,000 metric tonnes.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria Statistical Report 2020 shows that Nigeria imported $6bn worth of wheat from 2016 to 2020. This is worrisome and unsustainable for a crop that could be produced locally.”