In the first six months of the year, the total value of trade in agricultural goods stood at N1.5tn, data from the National Bureau of Statistics have shown.
Imports accounted for N1.3tn of total trade in the sector while exports stood at N292.5bn within the review period.
This resulted in a trade deficit of N1.07tn in the agriculture sector.
Top imported agricultural products during the period under review included Durum wheat, mackerel, Herrings, edible mixtures, crude palm oil and malt, imported from countries such as Canada, Lithuania, Denmark, Russia, Netherlands and France.
In the first quarter of the year, total trade in the sector stood at N757.4bn. Out of this amount, only N127.2bn was earned as exports while N630.2bn was spent on importing agricultural products.
In quarter one, the NBS said, “Top exported Agricultural products were Sesamum seeds exported mainly to China (valued at N23.1bn), Japan (N8.3bn) and Turkey (N3bn).
“This was followed by good fermented cocoa beans exported to the Netherlands (N9.2bn), Malaysia (N5.5bn) and the United States (N3.2bn).
Other major exports under this sector includes Cashew nuts in shell exported to Vietnam and India worth, N5.3bn and N5.1bn respectively.
“However, there was importation of Durum wheat (not in seed) worth N66.97bn from Lithuania. Durum wheat also came from Latvia (N41.51bn), Canada (N41.31bn) etc. Edible mixtures or preparation of animal worth N82.86bn, was imported from Denmark. Herrings was imported from Russia (N15.8bn) and Netherlands (N14bn)
Meanwhile, total value of trade in agricultural goods rose to N817.4bn in Q2 2021, consisting of N652.1bn import component and N165.3bn worth of exports.
Within the period, the Federal Government spent N70.37bn on importing Durum wheat (not in seed) from the United States, N54.5bn, N35bn, N32.2bn and N25.2bn on Durum wheat imports from Canada Argentina, Lithuania and Latvia respectively.
“The next product imported under this category was Blue whiting from Russia (N27.23bn) and Netherlands (N13.41bn). During the quarter, mackerel worth N9.61bn was imported from Netherlands and N4.91bn from Japan.
“There was also importation of Malt, not roasted from Belgium (N21.42bn) and France (N4.48bn). Other major importation was crude palm oil from Singapore in the value worth N15.09bn and India N11.68bn).
On exports in Q2, the NBS said, “The export component of this trade totaled N165.27bn. Top most of these exported agricultural products were good fermented Nigerian Cocoa beans exported mainly to the Netherlands (N16.48bn), Malaysia (N9.32bn) and United States (N8.41bn).
“The next leading product was Cashew nuts, in shell exported to Vietnam (N33.54bn) and India (N3.24bn). Other major exports under this sector include Sesamum seeds whether or not broken exported to Japan in the value worth N7.28billion, China N7.14billion and Coconuts N9.94billion respectively.
Further analysis of trade data from the NBS revealed that that total imports of the agriculture goods in H1 2020 stood at N677bn. This implies that total imports in the sector rose by N605bn from H1 2020 to H1 2021.
Financial experts have continually stressed the need for the government to tackle the issue of insecurity ravaging food producing states in the country to boost food sufficiency and agricultural exports.
The Founder and Managing Director of Cowry Asset Management Limited, Johnson Chukwu, had said that Nigeria’s food insufficiency limited its capability to export agricultural products.
He said, “Most of Nigeria’s agriculture exports are goods like sesamum seeds while the major agricultural production in the country are tubers, seeds and grains. “Most of these goods are for local consumption, and they don’t have a huge international market, other than Nigerians in the Diaspora.”
He called on the government to ensure food sufficiency in the country and help farmers boost their capabilities.