Rice exports from Thailand to Nigeria dropped from 1.23 million metric tonnes in 2014 to 23,192mt as at November 2017.
According to data on the Thai Rice Exporters Association website, the value of these exports dropped to 324 million Thai baht (฿) from 8.2 billion Thai bhat (฿).
Curiously though, Nigeria’s neighbours, Republic of Benin, recorded an increase in rice imports from Thailand, from 805,765mt in 2015 to 1,647,387mt as at November 2017 — leading to suspicion that the staple might have been smuggled to Nigeria through land borders.
On June 23, 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that it would no longer provide foreign exchange for 41 items including rice, cement and tooth picks.
It argued that the move would encourage patronage of locally made goods.
This move led to immediate increases in the prices of some of the items.
The CBN also stepped up the anchors borrowers programme to create a linkage between companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers (SHFs) of key agricultural commodities.
The programme provides inputs to farmers to improve production and the farmers supplies produce to the processing company at harvest in exchange for the cash equivalent.
“I have directed a zero-tolerance to rice imports through the land borders irrespective of volume with immediate effect. Importers who have already initiated import processes will have a grace period ending Friday March 25, 2016 to clear their consignments,” Hameed Alli, customs comptroller-general said in 2016.
In 2017, Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture, said the country’s rice imports from Thailand had dropped to 20,000 metric tonnes.