Currently, Nigeria happens to be the largest importer of rice in Africa and the fifth largest in the world just behind, China, India, and Iraq. Based on Statistics from Statista, in the year 2022, Nigeria imported around 2.1 million metric tonnes of rice. One would think that we major in importing just food and agricultural produce but statistics from other commodities show just how import-reliant we are.
Our Local Alternatives
A lot of Nigerians are yet to trust local products and feel a lot more secure purchasing foreign-made goods. The argument is the inferior quality of our locally produced goods. For example, a lot of people have complained about the quality of our locally produced rice, and just how many might count themselves as lucky if they miss out on eating a massive stone when consuming it. Agreeably, the quality that was made locally as an alternative is of concern.
The thing here is that our local industries will never improve unless we try to patronize them. How would we be able to improve if they did not have the support from the local investors and consumers? Going back to our local rice, let’s say it is immediately noticeable that the quality has improved massively over the last two years.
As stated by the Food and Agricultural Organization, local rice production in the year 2018 was around 4 million metric tonnes. Now in 2023, we have milled 5.2 million metric tonnes of rice as per Statista data report. This just shows that with support, our local industry would grow.
The High Prices of Our Locally Made Goods Argument
Our locally made goods find it hard to compete when it comes to pricing with foreign alternatives. This is mainly because of the high cost of production in Nigeria today, and the units that are being produced. Mass production is a lot cheaper.
Also, the cost of production is drastically increasing due to the lack of steady electricity and poor means of transportation. As stated by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), N144.5 billion was spent in 2022 on sourcing alternative energy. According to a report that was made by Punch NG, electricity costs drove the final prices of goods in Nigeria by 40%.
Why Consume Locally Made Goods
Save Our Declining Naira
In just 2022 alone, we spent over 25.6 trillion in imports. Although this includes petrol imports, it still shows just how much foreign exchange is needed for imports every year. With the completion of the Dangote refinery, we should be expecting this amount to massively drop.
With the noncrude exports at just around 4.9 trillion, insufficient overseas remittance, and poor currency policies, the issue is only further exacerbated by our heavy reliance on foreign Goods.
Encouraging Production Locally
Aside from investing in production locally, one of the best ways to encourage local production is to patronize our locally-made goods. Just imagine setting up your Goods, improving your quality, and then fixing your prices only to get low patronage.
According to Forbes, 90% of small businesses, especially startups fail. Unequivocally, this number would be a bit higher for Nigerian entrepreneurs who are trying to produce locally as the odds here are not entirely in their favor. Patronizing them is one major way of encouraging them.
Making the Economy Better
As stated by the World Bank, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises MSMEs account for the majority of businesses around the world, and are important contributors to economic development and prosperity.
In Nigeria, local producers like Shoemakers, tailors, fabric manufacturers, and beverage manufacturers are mostly categorized into MSMEs. By patronizing them, you would be creating a cascading economic effect as in the collection, they employ a chief of the population and aid several defendants. Supporting our local production is a major point in supporting our economy.
Is Local Production Necessary When we can import?
A lot of consumers are all interested in the price point and the quality. No matter where a product is shipped from, if it meets the standard and it’s cheap, consumers will surely purchase it. So why worry much about the locally made goods when we could just import? Well, the answer to this question lies in self-reliance.
Even with the current wave of globalization, a lot of countries still struggle for economic self-reliance. For this reason, a lot of countries like the US, Germany, Japan, China, and Korea all have popular mobile phone and automobile brands as exports. It is a lot safer to have locally made brands in case of economic weaponization during the wars.
In the year 1973, the Arabian nations cut off oil supplies to the West and raised the prices of crude around the world. In 2023, we saw the Nord pipeline saga as the United States and other allies allegedly tried to disrupt Russia’s oil distribution network.