NIGERIA’S rice imports from one of the largest rice exporters in the world, Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA), fell by 98.4% to 15 metric tonnes between January and July as against 957 metric tonnes imported during the corresponding period in 2021, according to data from TREA.
During the review period, Nigeria’s rice imports from the association fell to the lowest level on record, even as rice importers spent less than a million Thai Baht in the comparable period of 2021 whereas Nigeria spent 15 million Thai Baht and a total of 30 million for the full year.
Showing a sharp decline from 1.24 million MT of rice imported in 2014 to 244,131MT in 2015, and 58,260MT in 2016, an overview of the data indicates that rice importation has since maintained a downward trend to date following inclusion of rice in the 41 items not valid for foreign exchange from CBN’s Foreign Exchange Window.
It will be recalled that in 2015, the CBN on behalf of the Federal Government placed a ban on 41 imported items (rice included), from accessing foreign exchange from the official window with government also banning importation of rice through land borders and kept a hefty 70 per cent tariff on imports coming through ports. These actions were taken in a bid to discourage importation and encourage local production.