Nigeria’s agricultural industry has suffered huge losses over the years on account of high rate of smuggling of agricultural products from neighbouring West African countries through the land borders.
Most bans placed on smuggled agricultural products, such as rice, tomato paste, poultry products and fish, have not been effective and so have made no real impact. These products continue to find their way into the country as smuggling remains a big business for importers of these products, who import from mostly Asian countries and route them into the country through the land borders.
Smuggling has had highly devastating effects on the Nigerian economy. For instance, it has practically killed the country’s local paste processing industry as well as the poultry industry. It has also slowed down the growth of Nigeria’s local rice production and aquaculture.
Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture, said at the Federal Executive Council meeting in November 2017 that the country loses about $5 billion yearly to smuggling and that about $15-billion worth of goods are smuggled into the country annually. Ogbeh was quoting a World Bank report.
Imported agricultural products continue to thrive in the Nigerian market because they are usually cheaper than the locally-produced ones. Huge infrastructural deficit across the country makes production cost higher for local producers.
Smuggling of agricultural products persists because of the huge demand and supply gap of most of the products in the country, according to experts. This is not likely to stop until Nigeria is able to increase its local production capacity and bridge its huge infrastructural gaps to drive down production costs for local producers. The country can only address the issue of smuggling when governments deliberately provide land for agric businesses and establish funding mechanism for the development of the entire agric value chain, experts say.
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