ABUJA, NIGERIA — Wheat and corn are among certain food items on which Nigeria plans to suspend import taxes as the country grapples with fast-rising food prices for its nearly 230 million people, Reuters reported, citing the agriculture minister.

Agricultural Minister Abubakar Kyari said the government would import 250,000 tonnes of wheat and 250,000 tonnes of corn in addition to imports by the private sector. The commodities will be imported in their semi-processed state and target supplies to small-scale processors and millers.

The move is part of the government’s plans over the next 180 days to fight food inflation that has climbed to over 40% compared to last year for Africa’s most populous nation. Prices have soared with insecurity in parts of the country’s food producing regions and a poor road network linking farms to markets.

Kyari said the tax waiver would cover food commodities imported through the country’s land and sea borders.

Because of numerous economic challenges, including food inflation, grain consumption in Nigeria is projected to decline in 2024-25, with utilization of corn and wheat each projected to decrease by 9% to 11.5 million and 4.2 million tonnes, respectively, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In its March report, the FAS said Nigeria was expected to import 4.4 million tonnes of wheat in marketing year 2024-25, which started in July. Corn imports were projected at 90,000 tonnes in 2024-25 as production falls to 11 million tonnes from 12 million in 2023-24.