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Bandits Twin With Floods to Shatter Nigeria’s Food-Export Dreams

  • Plan to boost African nation’s farming faces many obstacles
  • Country is seeking to ease reliance on oil, cut import bills
Rice farmers remove weeds on a rice field in Kano
Rice farmers remove weeds on a rice field in KanoPhotographer: Aminu Abubakar/AFP via Getty Images
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Nigeria dreamed of a farming renaissance that would slash food bills and rival oil as its top export. It didn’t count on gun-toting herdsmen, heavy floods and a persistent Islamist insurgency.

That perfect storm of insecurity and poor planning has hobbled one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s flagship pledges -- to cut an annual $22 billion in food imports -- just as he gears up for elections in February. It’s prolonging the West African nation’s reliance on crude revenue, a downturn which sparked a 2016 recession.