Nigeria recorded a massive 74% drop in exports of Cashew Nuts in Shell according to the third quarter foreign trade report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); in the second quarter of 2018, Nigeria recorded an export value of N38.49 billion as against N9.85 billion in the third quarter of 2018. According to the Bureau, According to the Bureau, Nigeria’s total exports for the quarter was N4,853.6 billion in Q3,2018 representing a 7.8% increase from Q2,2018 and a 35.7% increase over Q3, 2017.
Cashew Nuts in shell which has topped Nigeria’s agricultural exports for years accounted for about N9.8 billion in the third quarter of 2018 compared to about N38.4 billion in the second quarter of 2018. Cashew nuts were exported mainly to Vietnam and India in values worth N4.8 billion and N4.7 billion respectively.
Sesamum seeds another major agro-export out of Nigeria printed at about N9 billion when compared to N19.4 billion in the prior quarter in 2018. Sesamum seeds were exported to Japan and China in values worth N2.9 billion and N1.6 billion.
The bureau did not provide reasons for the drop in exports.
A look at the same report in 2017 suggests exports of Cashew Nuts and Sesamum seeds typically fall in the third quarter of the year compared to the second quarter of the year. For example in the second quarter of 2017 Cashew Nut exports was about N13.5 billion only to drop to N3 billion in the third quarter of the same year.
A similar trend was observed for Sesamum seeds where export revenue dropped from N7 billion in the second quarter of 2017 to about N5.6 billion in the third quarter of the same years.
A rise in exports and imports
- Despite these seasonal drops, Nigeria has continued to record a steady increase in exports of agricultural exports.
- Agro-exports have risen from about N60.7 billion in 2016 to as high as N204.5 billion as at September 2018. Exports were N170 billion in the whole of 2017.
- While exports have been on the rise, imports have also risen by a considerable amount.
- In 2018 year to date, Agricultural imports were about N633.3 billion when compared to N886 billion in imports for the whole of 2017. Total imports for 2016 was N656 billion.
- It thus likely that agro-imports into Nigeria in 2018 will top prior years.
Government Policy not working?
- The government has boisterously pushed its focus on stimulating the local agricultural market as one of its main policy thrust.
- This has resulted in several import bans and an increase in import duty as the government relies on backward integration and local subsidies to stimulate the local farming industry.
- While progress has been reported as indicated above, the country is still a long way from being less of an import-dependent economy when it comes to feeding itself.