Nigeria’s food and beverage import bill rose to N1.5 trillion in Q1 2024, reflecting a 30 per cent increase from N1.21 trillion in Q4 2023. This data, released in the first quarter foreign trade report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), also shows a significant 115 per cent increase from N710 billion in Q1 2023.

The report indicates that food and beverage imports constituted 12.59 per cent of total imports between January and March 2024, up from 11.4 per cent in the same period in 2023. A detailed breakdown reveals primary food and beverage imports for industries and household consumption reached N726 billion for the quarter, a N160 billion increase from the previous quarter.

For household consumption, primary food and beverage imports were valued at N186.6 billion, while industrial imports stood at N540.1 billion. This represents a year-on-year increase of N64 billion from N122 billion in Q1 2023.

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The industrial sector’s primary food import bill was N540 billion in Q1 2024, marking a 114 per cent increase from N252 billion in Q1 2023 and a 32 per cent rise from N409 billion in Q4 2023.

Processed food and beverage imports also surged, reaching N865 billion in the first three months of 2024, a 137 per cent increase from N365 billion in Q1 2023. Compared to the previous quarter, processed food and beverage imports grew from N650.55 billion to the current figure.

Despite this increase in imports, a weakening naira has reduced the dollar value of these imports over the past year, indicating that food importation might not effectively solve Nigeria’s food inflation problems.

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