Nigeria is expected to import 2.1 million metric tonnes of rice in 2024, making it among the world's largest buyer of the staple, a new report said.    

The Rice Outlook report published by the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service said Indonesia would import 2.0 million metric tonnes, also among the highest.    

Import forecasts for Nigeria - Africa's most populous nation - were raised due to stronger than expected demand caused by both high domestic rice prices and quality concerns, it said.  

Annual inflation in Nigeria increased to 27.33% in October, up from 26.72% in September, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday. 

Food inflation jumped to 31.52% in October, compared to 23.72% recorded over the same period last year.

Inflation has risen to a 20-year high and the local currency naira has weakened by more than 40% since June after President Bola Tinubu's removal of a fuel subsidy and lifting of exchange controls.     

The US Department of Agriculture's report showed Burkina Faso is also among the African countries expected to significantly increase its imports next year to 525,000 tonnes due to reduced domestic production.    

Global rice trade in calendar year 2024 is projected at 52.85 million tonnes, the report said.

(Editing by Bindu Rai)