LAGOS, NIGERIA — Nigeria, which traditionally has procured a large portion of its wheat from the Black Sea region, is enduring severe repercussions from the Russia-Ukraine war, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

“Nigeria is spending more on wheat imports amid high global wheat prices brought on by the Russia-Ukraine war,” the FAS said. “The situation has negatively impacted Nigeria’s wheat supply value chain. More importantly, official records showed a drastic reduction in durum wheat imports from Russia in 2022. Russia was one of the country’s primary sources of cheap wheat.”

The situation is one of the reasons the Nigerian government is attempting to increase domestic wheat production. Nigerian output is forecast to increase by 42% in the 2023-24 marketing year primarily due to a memorandum of understanding signed by the Flour Millers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) to purchase wheat at a competitive price, according to the FAS.

The report said area harvested is projected to increase 30% to 130,000 hectares and production is expected to rise to 156,000 tonnes from 110,000 tonnes in Nigeria, which most years relies on imports for more than 95% of its wheat supply.

As part of the government’s push to become more self-sufficient in wheat, Nigeria has seen imports decline the past three years from the high of 6.5 million tonnes in 2020-21, the FAS said. The country is projected to import 5.4 million tonnes in 2023-24, down from an estimated 5.5 million the previous year.

The FAS noted that the Nigerian government distributed high-yielding seed varieties, agrochemicals and farm equipment to 5,600 wheat farmers in December 2022.

“These efficient inputs, including better seeds, will increase acreage and yield,” the FAS said. “Yield per hectare in 2023-24 is forecast at 1.2 tonnes per hectare, increasing 9% from the previous year.”

However, it warned that “in the long term, the challenges outweigh the opportunities. Security challenges across the wheat-producing region restrict farmers’ access to fields. In addition, high production costs, stem borer infestation, and a weak financial support system will adversely affect wheat production in 2023-24.”