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Nigeria spends 67% more on French fries than on agriculture

Staff Writer |
Dollar scarcity, occasioned by the Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN) flexible exchange rate policy, may have saved the country about $45 million or N14.1 billion in French fries imports.

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However, operators still put the figure at $200million or N62.8billion annually.

The forex policy has made it difficult for fast foods operators and super markets to continue with the importation of French fries, which Nigerians consume with relish.

To underscore the importance of this amount saved from capital flight, of the N6.1 trillion National Budget, the allocation to agriculture, which the Federal Government is pushing to spearhead its economic diversification programme, is only a little above N29.75billion.

This means that Nigeria’s importation of French fries is about 67 percent higher than the total spent on agriculture for the whole year.

The Co-founder of Vicampro, an organisation pushing for food security in Nigeria, Michael Agbogo, disclosed that Nigerians consume about 120 tonnes of French fries daily, even as the whole of the West Africa region lacks real food processors.

According to him, “Nigeria imports about $200 million worth of French fries annually,” adding that directing investment to the components of the value chain will serve both the local and regional markets.

“Currently, demand stands at 120 tonnes per day. Now that import has become very difficult due to the exchange rate, fast foods such as KFC no longer sell the product for this reason,” he added.

A tonne of French fries sells at the international market for between $800 and $1000, thus if Nigerians consume about 120 tonnes of French fries daily, according to demand estimates from operators, the country may have saved at least $43.8 million in forex, a situation that may have affected consumption and made organisations look inward.

Nigeria is a leading producer of Irish potatoes in sub-Saharan Africa with Plateau State producing about 200,000 metric tonnes of Irish potatoes yearly. The importation of French fries attracts 20 percent tariff and five percent value added tax from the Federal Government.

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