To help save its foreign currency reserves, Nigeria has resolved to stop wheat importation from Russia.
According to data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics, wheat importation costs Nigeria $880 million last year and $660 million this year between January and September. In the first week of November, Nigeria imported approximately 53 million metric tons valued at $7.8 billion.
The decision to end wheat importation was announced by Foreign Affairs minister Hajiya Khadija Abba-Ibrahim at the end of the fourth Joint Commission meeting between Russia and Nigeria in Abuja at the weekend.
Hajiya Khadija Abba-Ibrahim said instead of the imports, Nigeria would invite Russians to help them improve the country’s agricultural productivity. In her words;
“We import a lot of wheat from Russia and we are telling Russia that this has to stop. We want the Russian companies and farmers to come to Nigeria to show us how we can grow our agriculture sector with modern technology.”
Abba-Ibrahim said the meeting was to foster the existing relationship between the two countries and noted that Nigeria and Russia had enjoyed cordial relations over time.
The minister said the meeting considered various areas of cooperation, including solid minerals, atomic energy, trade, power, works and housing, transport, petroleum, communication, water resources, defence, agriculture and health.
According to her, Russian companies expressed interest in investing in some areas of the Nigerian economy, especially in pursuing the diversification of the economy through mining, agriculture, among others.
The Russian delegation was led by the deputy head Russian Delegation in Nigeria, Mr. Dianov Alexandar Yurievich.
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According to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria spends $11 billion (N3.1 trillion) annually to import wheat, rice, sugar and fish. But the country has stepped up wheat production and has hit 60,000MT, ranking it 61st out of 79 countries in global production.