Although Nigeria is the largest producer of food staples in West Africa, it has been revealed that the country accounts for about 36 percent of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) food imports.
A recent World Bank report, titled: ‘Africa-Can-Feed Africa Report’, says the country is a major importer of grains to satisfy urban consumption needs; according to the report, endorsed by World Bank Vice President for Africa, Makthar Diop, Nigeria is the world’s leading producer of cassava, yams and taro root, and the second largest producer of sweet potatoes.
It continues, “It accounts for 69 percent of the regional supply of these products, and also accounts for half of the grains produced in West Africa and is the world’s largest producer of cowpeas.”
Yet, while domestic production provides most of the food for Nigeria’s urban areas, the country has a deficit in rice and wheat. The report continues that “Every year Nigeria imports more than one million tons of rice, making it among the largest rice importing countries in the world, and more than two million tons of wheat flour.”