Trade Statistics for International Business Development said the legal import for palm oil in Nigeria falls within the range of $224 to $546 million, putting the country’s palm oil deficit at $800m.
The body, in its report, stated that Nigeria was one of the leading exporters of crude palm oil in the 1960s but has now lost the position to become a net importer to bridge a growing domestic demand gap.
According to the data, the country at the moment has a deficit of palm oil of about 900,000 metric tonnes estimated at $800 million.
However, importation of refined palm oil/vegetable oil is prohibited while 35% duty is charged on the importation of crude palm oil and crude vegetable oil.
The nation’s demand is said to be driven by two factors: increased household consumption of the Technical Palm Oil (TPO) because of its taste, and increased demand the Special Palm Oil (SPO) that is processed into refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) for industrial purposes.
The food industry consumes 90% whereas 10% is used by the non-food industry. With an estimated population of 193 million, the country’s household consumption has dramatically gone up with the fast food industry where products like noodles, margarine, vegetable oil, biscuits, bakery, frying, fat in snack and many other items use palm oil. The cosmetics industries thrive on palm oil too as manufacturers of soaps, creams and detergents use it as raw materials.