The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday released the country’s merchandise trade report for the second quarter of the year, with trade dropping by N641bn from N7.21tn in the first quarter to N6.56tn.
The bureau, in the report which was uploaded on its website, said the country’s second quarter merchandise trade experienced a decline of 8.89 per cent quarter-on-quarter
The report attributed the decline recorded in the second quarter trade to contraction in both imports and exports.
The report read in part, “The total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade was N6.59tn in the second quarter of 2018, which was a 8.89 per cent contraction from the figure recorded in Q1 2018 at N7.21tn and a 14.56 per cent growth from Q2 2017’s N5.73tn.
“The contraction of total trade in the reviewing quarter was mainly driven by the decline in both imports and exports.”
During the period, the NBS put the country’s trade balance at a surplus of N2.35tn.
This, it noted, was an increase of 8.36 per cent from the N2.17tn recorded in the first quarter of this year.
The report put the total import value for the country at N2.1tn in the second quarter, noting that this was 16.3 per cent lower than the N2.51tn recorded in the first quarter.
Some of the imported items during the period were agricultural produce, N224.52bn; raw materials import, N184.49bn; solid minerals, N17.29bn; energy goods, N98.17bn; and manufactured goods, N1.17tn, among others.
For exports, the NBS said goods worth N4.46tn were exported to other countries.
This, it noted, indicated a contraction of 4.9 per cent over the N4.69tn recorded in the first quarter.
“So, it is a great thing for this country that we are now facing commercial agriculture; this is agriculture with commerce behind it, and it is going to make us rich and self-sufficient, and that is the beauty of it.
The Chairman, WHGF Limited, Capt. Hosa Okunbor (retd), explained that the project, sited on 27 hectares of land with the capacity for 28 hydroponic greenhouses, was designed to produce an estimated 4,200 tonnes per year of agricultural produce as well as earn an estimated revenue of $5m yearly.
Okunbor said that the greenhouse would also contribute towards increasing Nigeria’s food security and self-sufficiency, especially as the country was said to be spending about $360m annually on the importation of tomatoes.
According to him, the farms will directly employ 500 people at full capacity, while thousands of youths and women will be engaged indirectly in the production of many types of vegetables for local consumption as well as export.
He stated that by adopting new technologies, Nigeria could replicate the agricultural success recorded by western countries like Mexico, which generated $32.6m from agricultural exports in 2017.