Border Closure; How Has This Affected The Nigerian Market?

As part of an effort to stop trafficking, Nigeria has closed its land borders to all movement of goods and has no plan to reopen them for now, said the head of the nation’s customs service. For now, all goods are prohibited to be exported or imported across our land borders to ensure that we have complete control over what comes in, said Hameed Ali (General of the Nigerian Customs Service).

Africa’s largest economy launched a partial border closure in August, and a wider closure had been reported in local media in order to stop the trafficking of rice and other commodities. This policy was commenced to strategize the best way to handle the goods when they eventually get to the point where this operation will relax for the influx of goods.

Farmers and traders are now currently expressing their opinion after the Nigerian government closed all neighbouring borders around the country with a plan to put an end to Nigeria’s economic dependence on contraband goods.

The Losers

These measures taken by President Muhammadu Buhari have had disastrous consequences mostly on Beninese farmers, many of whom sell their farm produce to the Nigerian market. They’ve suffered significant losses since the closure.

“These tomatoes are rotting in the field because the border is closed and our customers have stopped coming to buy them. Everything is rotten in the field and this means we end up being in debt,” said Parfait Glokpo, a Farmer.

According to a source who spoke to The Observer, they sold them about 15 tons of vegetables a month, which represented about 75% of our total production. “They were especially fond of our lettuces and our carrots. But it has been really hard since Nigeria closed its borders. We are really struggling to sell our produce. Here in Cotonou, there is much less demand. People aren’t buying, so we’ve suffered enormous losses.”

The Expected Gainers

According to the Nigeria Customs Service, the closure of the Benin-Nigeria border is described as the most successful and effective measure so far adopted, in terms of curtailing the influx of smuggled rice and other goods to the country.

Hence, this will encourage the rural areas to return back to their farming and will save the country an enormous sum of money that would have been spent on food importation.

Before the closure of the border, it was easier for traders to import and export foodstuffs at cheaper prices. The huge losses to the petty traders and manufacturers that ply the route have been estimated by some to be in billions of naira, thus turning out to be very devastating to these traders who are, in any case, mainly Nigerians.

The Difference in Pricing and Demand before the Border Closure

In the wake of the Nigeria-Benin Republic border closure at Seme, foodstuffs such as frozen meat, vegetable oil, tomatoes, and other staple food are now almost double the prices.

For instance, a basket of tomatoes from Benin which was usually sold between N7,000 and 8,000 before the closure, now sells at N11,000 from the traders until the next harvest by local farmers.

Whether negative or positive, this increase in pricing is having a huge effect on Nigerians.

@Everybody How, in your own opinion, can the people - and the government- best make the best of this situation and move forward?

The borders closure must continue.

The border closure is most unfortunate because; firstly there were no cushions in place to reduce the effect on the masses. Secondly, the Nigerian economy is likely to recede further because many importers and thier financiers such as banks will expirience huge losses if perishable goods waiting to be crossed damages. That would amount to exporting Nigeria’s capital without retrieval.

We Nigerian farmers should increase planting tomatoes

On the positive side of the policy: that is if there were palliatives and proper education of the masses before the implementation, the policy will drive agricultural development in the country. The importers would have been encouraged by fair investment policies to retrieve capitals tied up at the borders and willingly channel it into agriculture by themselves or forcibly by a specialised agency created by government for that purpose which thereafter makes such investment a PPP venture. This type of initiative provides options to those whose goods are trapped at the border to choose either to loose their capital or have it invested in agriculture on their behalf. We should stop operating economics of waste in Nigeria, such as burning of goods imported with Naira for dollars simply because they are contraband or substandard. We should stop sending people back to poverty because they misbehaved; instead they should be charged, tried and jailed but thier capital should be saved and handed over to them after the punishment but with a clear resolve not to go about their old ways again. It’s time we form our laws on the roots of love not hate.

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But can i ask a question, have we also stopped exporting fuel? Until then, there are some farmers whoose income is in exporting agrucultural produce. What should that become of us? Please understand where Nigeria wants to head with this but for some of us who export our produce and help other nations through this, things should be put in place.

I believe Nigeria will emerge victorious at the end of the day. Bandicts from the border areas are affected too. We have just started winning the war on cross border bandits.
Pls. do you know the Lagos state address of Federal ministry of agriculture? Kindly forward to me if you know.

The very best to help ourselves and country at large is to endure for a while. No pain, no gain. Let’s embrace our country’s product whether inferior or otherwise. Through that, we get to produce the best that increase our country’s livelihood.

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Thanks.

Accept my regards sir.
We so much mouth the issue of agriculture in Nigeria while turning deaf ears to the promotion of commercial agriculture through cooperatives and private sector drive. As long as Nigeria does not commercialise agriculture, subsistence farming will continue to be and it will not take us anywhere and dependence on oil will continue unabated
Thank you
Iliya G. Ajeye

Thanks for this insightful through your article.

I want to encourage local farmers to seize the opportuninty to increase farm output in order to maximize their gains.

Regards

The closure of our borders is a wellcome idea and its good for our economy to grow and for us to face farming squarely, I cudos to the federal government.

This border closure is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria in recent times. This border closure is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria in recent times. I pray it continues so that we develop capacity in dairy farming. It gives me a lot of concerns that we spend about $1.3 billion annually on importation of milk, yogurt, cheese etc.
It is a shame that Kenya has a breed of goat that can produce 8 litres of milk daily while Nigerian cow can only do 2 litres. The future of local milk production in Nigeria lies in bringing high milk yielding Holstein breed, put them in proper housing where hygiene and heat stress are controlled. Some us are knowledgeable in this area and government should do more for us to show case what we are capable of doing. It is very possible to have cows that will give 25 litres of milk daily in Nigeria. RUGA is not the way because of our weather!

All the agric should be take care all the goods

Dear Mr Bukola,

Your write up on border closure is prompting me to share my opinion on dairy farming with you.

The future of agriculture in Nigeria depends so much on how well government prevents influx of food items into the country particularly those ones that can be locally produced. Rice farmers are happy today largely because of government intervention and support through CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme and this border closer.

From Agege Dairy Farms experiment in mid1940s till now, government’s approach to milk production has been based on the wrong assumption of raising more cows to produce more milk. This is the missing link because successful modern dairy farming is built around more milk from less cows. Researches and efforts by the milk power houses of the world are concentrated on getting more milk from fewer cows. Between 1990 and 2010, for example, number of farms in the United States reduced by 70% but milk production went up tremendously with US presently leading the rest of the world in cow milk production with over 90 billion litres of milk per annum. From all indications, our approach has not yielded the desired results because our White Fulani or Bunaji breed of cattle are not naturally favoured for good milk production. Besides this, the nomardic system where cows have to travel long distance in search of poor quality grass and water shows that we are not ready for milk production yet. This explains why our cows cannot produce more than 250-300 litres of milk yearly and therefore can never bridge our annual milk gap of 1.1billion litres.

RUGA and recent interventions by milk giants like Friesland in Niger State and Arla in Kaduna State are good but not good enough to guaranty milk sufficiency. The only difference in these interventions is that pasture and water are provided but cows will still have to graze under our hash (hot and humid) weather. The truth is that dairy cattle need far more than green pasture and water to meet basic body maintainance requirements talk less of producing milk in large quantity.

My joy is that what is happening to rice will soon happen to milk but descerning minds must position themselves appropriately and timely to reap the benefits as soon as they come.

Developing our own breed of high milk producing cattle has remain elusive because we lack the painstaking and complex genetic engineering it demands. Hence, the only viable hope of achieving sufficiency in milk production lies in raising Holstein cows under suitable environmental conditions and appropriate management practices without compromising cow nutrition, cow comfort and hygiene.

Starting a modern dairy farm in a zero-grazing environment with Holstein cattle that can produce 7500 - 9000 litres of high quality milk per annum in Nigeria is very possible and viable though capital intensive. I am knowledgeable in this area and I am ready for serious discussion on the profitability of this enterprise. I am also open to the possiblity of forging a partnership arrangement if there are willing investors. I am available should you have further questions on this issue.

Best regards,

Segun Ogunlela

+2348038085965

Its quite embarrassing to assume that we import some of these vegetables from our neighboring countries, with all the vast land available to us.
Its a big shame.

For me,if that’s part of what we need to do to get it right, why not;.

We urgently need to put up policies that could better the agric sector, having in mind also that right pricing is one of such policies.

What measures has the government taken before the closure that will ensure availability of local produce? The roads are so bad that goods get spoilt on transit, no empowerment for the local farmers market, people are running from farming due to insecurity of their lives and produce. Stop hyping corporate work and start encouraging Agricultural involvement.

Closing the border is a good measure but government didn’t give a plan before taking the active … This will affect the people

Hi

Now that our boarders are closed, i need a proper guide to start off my own farming. I intend starting a poultry and fishery farm. I will be needing your assistance on how to sart off this business especially in areas of feeding and administering vaccines.

Thanks.

please what is the time frame for planting tomato and number of month for maturing. thanks