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Nigeria's Central Bank disbursed $2.13 bln for food imports in 2023

The Central Bank of Nigeria allocated a total of $2.13 billion for the importation of food products into Nigeria during the year 2023. This allocation was made in response to the consistent demand for food imports, despite Nigeria's reputation as the food basket of Africa, according to the bank's quarterly statistics. The move comes amid a significant rise in the cost of imported food commodities, with prices increasing by 34 percent from April 2023 to April 2024.

This increase in food prices across sub-Saharan Africa is attributed to global factors, as the region largely depends on imports for its staple foods. Nigeria, with its substantial agricultural sector, faces challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, insecurity, and climate change, which have impeded efforts to boost local food production and reduce import dependency.

Despite the Federal Government's stance against food importation as a strategy to mitigate economic hardship and high food costs, the substantial amount disbursed for imports indicates ongoing challenges in achieving food self-sufficiency. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating hunger by 2030 remains a daunting task for Nigeria.

A detailed breakdown of the 2023 disbursements includes monthly allocations from January to December, with figures ranging from $58 million to $268.4 million. The total disbursement represents a decrease from the $2.7 billion allocated in previous periods. The National Bureau of Statistics' April 2024 food inflation report highlighted a significant increase in prices for various food items, contributing to an annual food inflation rate of 32.74 percent, up from 23.22 percent the previous year.


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