Benin-Nigeria boarder closure causing economic crisis - AFRICA REPORT
BY DIBIE IKE Michael with AGENCY
Farmers and traders are distressed after Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari closed all neighbouring borders around the country with a plan to end Nigeria’s economic dependence on oil, by developing domestic agriculture and industry.
The border closure means Nigeria is choked off from supplies until the next harvest by local farmers.
“These tomatoes are rotting in the field because the border is closed and our customers have stopped coming to buy them. Everything rotted in the field and this means we end up being in debt,” said Parfait Glokpo, a Farmer.
With cheap goods smuggled or imported hampering domestic producers, Buhari had ordered a partial closure of the border with Benin in August.
However, the borders with all neighbouring countries were shut down completely this September.
With Benin still smuggling subsidized fuel in Nigeria, the border closures are also difficult for traffickers to deal with.
Some of the traders in the region say they don’t have other means of sending their children to school and that they are unable to repay back loans.
“It is so difficult with the closure of the border, smugglers go through the bush with two cans each time they cross,” said Anon, Contraband petrol courier.
According to official figures, Nigeria has been ramping up rice production, with local output rising by 60% since 2013.
But at 4.8 million tons last year, local rice production was still not enough for the 190 million Nigerians.