Nigeria is a net food importer, with an agricultural trade deficit of about ₦1.4 trillion in 2020, comprising imports of about ₦1.7 trillion, the highest in the history of the country, and exports of only ₦320.7 billion. These figures point to opportunities in the agricommodities industry. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava with an average production volume of 59 million tonnes (MT) per annum. The country’s demand for maize is about 18 million metric tonnes, with a local supply of only about 7 million tonnes, the gap is augmented by imports. Nigeria is also the second largest producer of sorghum in the world after the United States of America (USA), with total estimated production of 6.6 million metric tonnes (MT) in 2020.
In 2020, the economic impact of the novel COVID-19 pandemic rippled across sectors resulting in steep contractions. Although production was affected, the agriculture sector was among the few economic sectors that recorded growth, even at the height of the lockdown in the second quarter of the year (Q2 2020). Overall, the sector fared better than most other sectors and outperformed the overall economy. The relative resilience of agricultural production can be attributed to the largely informal nature of production, with a large proportion of producers located in areas where compliance with lockdown rules were weak.
Nonetheless, agricommodities production in Nigeria continues to lag domestic demand, resulting in wide supply-demand gaps across the various commodities, which are being met by imports. Given that the domestic market remains crippled by low processing capabilities, value addition in the industry is weak and the country relies largely on imports to satisfy demand for processed food items and other derivatives from these agro-commodities.
The 2021 Agricommodities report focuses on cassava, maze and sorghum. Some of the key themes captured in the report are: