Battling food insecurity amid mounting inflation (

Battling food insecurity amid mounting inflation


Maize prices are 15 per cent higher than in January 2021, while wheat and rice prices are at the same level, he added.

He noted that if nothing was done, Nigeria could face a drastic food crisis and might have to depend fully on exports, which, according to him, would be unreliable and unsustainable.

The World Food Programme reported that up to 19 million Sudanese (41 per cent of the population) were struggling to find one meal per day, up from 15 million last year.

Analysts have said following Russias invasion of Ukraine, traderelated policies imposed by countries have surged.

The global food crisis has been partially made worse by the growing number of food trade restrictions put in place by countries with the goal of increasing domestic supply and reducing prices.

As of March 13, 2023, 21 countries had implemented 27 food export bans, and 10 had implemented 14 exportlimiting measures.

In January, inflation was up again, hitting 21.82 per cent in annual terms, driven by higher food inflation, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics noted.

Inflation had risen in Africas biggest economy for 10 straight months, prompting a string of interest rate hikes from the central bank, before a dip to 21.34 per cent in December 2022.

Food inflation, which accounts for the bulk of Nigerias inflation basket, rose to 24.32 per cent in January from 23.75 per cent in December last year.

The contributions of items on a class basis to the increase in the headline index are bread and cereal, actual and imputed rent, potatoes, yam and tuber, vegetable and meat, the National Bureau of Statistics said in its inflation report.

Policymakers have linked inflationary pressures to Nigerias infrastructural problems and the culture of consuming imported goods.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said the bank would maintain a hawkish stance on rates if inflation remained elevated.

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The CBN hiked its key interest rate to 17.5 in January, meaning there have been 600 basis points of rate hikes since last May.

Recently, the NBS revealed that the inflation rate had increased to 22.04 per cent.

This is the third consecutive increase in 2023.

The World Bank has said deploying short and longterm responses to boost food and nutrition security, reduces risks, and strengthens food systems.

These actions form part of the institutions global response to the ongoing food security crisis, with up to 30bn in existing and new projects in areas spanning agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.

This financing, according to the apex bank, will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.

The Africanled Great Green Wall is a major regional initiative that promises climatesmart solutions to transform both the regions economies and ecosystems.

By 2030, it seeks to restore some 100 million hectares of degraded land and generate 10 million jobs in rural areas, supporting peoples ability to respond and adapt to climate risks.

The World Bank has committed to invest 5.6bn between 2020 and 2025 in 11 countries taking part.

Over 60 projects are focused on transforming livelihoods in the Great Green Wall through landscape restoration, improved food systems, and access to climateresilient infrastructure.

An economist, Ade Dayo, said the issue of food insecurity, was not peculiar to Nigeria.

He noted that there were various challenges along the food value chain of production, distribution, processing and storage.

These, according to him, include climate change, insurgency and conflict in many parts of the country, natural disasters and pandemicrelated shocks, which affect food production and push food prices up.

Given the scale of these challenges for Nigeria, achieving Sustainable Development Goal Two of zero hunger and other related SDGs may be a tall order.

Conflict and violence are exacerbating food insufficiency in Nigeria.

Families are losing their sources of livelihood on a daily basis, he said.

While quoting a report from Relief Africa, Dayo said one of the terrible manifestations of widespread deprivation in Nigeria was child poverty, the result of insufficient family livelihoods.

Many Nigerians do not earn 1 per day.

Nationally, about 43 per cent of Nigerians (89 million people) live below the poverty line, while another 25 per cent (53 million people) are vulnerable.

For a country with massive wealth and a huge population to support commerce, a welldeveloped economy, and plenty of natural resources, the level of poverty remains unacceptable, the economic expert added.

Donor agencies have responded in many ways to improve living standards and wellbeing among vulnerable Nigerians, especially those affected by insurgency and violence in rural communities.

Save the Children and other humanitarian response organisations are programming around shockresponsive social protection and child poverty.

This includes providing food vouchers and cash transfers to identified families and supporting them to build back better and be able to settle.

Families are also said to be receiving health and nutrition education while being supported to use cash transfers well.

Dayo also identified promoting the use of technology in food production, processing and storage.

The Federal Government, in recent times, has coordinated a series of food system dialogues.

Recommendations made during these dialogues include a collection of weather information to be regularly disseminated to farmers.

Speaking on this, Usman said farm settlements and estates should be revamped or established to be made up of groups of smallholder producers, including women and young people.

Farm settlement estates should include all basic amenities (including the Internet to discourage ruraltourban migration).

Governments at the local level should promote Operations Feed Yourself by helping households to access information and inputs that will encourage them to produce food around their houses to feed their families.

The World Bank, in its latest food security update, said seven countries, including Nigeria, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen are experiencing catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

It revealed that 258 million people in 58 countries faced crises or worse levels of acute food insecurity in 2022.

The bank, in a report titled, Food Security Update World Bank Response to Rising Food Insecurity, states that this indicates the threat of famine.

At least 64 million Nigerians are said to be at risk of emergency food and nutritional assistance due to rising inflation, climate change, among others.

According to the United Nations World Food Programme, there are currently 24.8 million Nigerians suffering from acute hunger, indicating worsening food insecurity and a widespread system of privation.

The World Banks report indicated that about 107.5 million people in West Africa and Central Africa could fall into a food crisis if additional shocks in the current farming season occurred.

This new figure almost doubles that of the 27 million people predicted by Oxfam, ALIMA, and Save the Children organisations, which warned that food crises in West Africa could affect people in Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali, and Nigeria.

The report also stated that the number of people experiencing crisis and acute food insecurity was the highest on record since the Global Report on Food Crises started in 2017.

Drawing on research from International Food Policy Research Institute and other centres, the report stressed the need for wellcoordinated early warning systems and anticipatory action frameworks to prepare and organise responses.

The bank called on governments to maintain supportive business environments for agrifood value chains, build adaptive social protection programmes that integrate gender and climate goals, repurpose agricultural support funds, and better leverage private sector funds for longterm resilience.

In seven countries (Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen), some affected populations faced catastrophic levels of food insecurity, which indicates the threat of famine and extremely critical levels of malnutrition in several areas of the countries, marking the most countries facing such extreme levels of food and nutrition insecurity in the reports history.

The number of people experiencing a crisis or worse acute food insecurity is the highest on record since the GRFC started reporting these data in 2017, with 2022 marking the fourth consecutive year of increases in the number of acutely foodinsecure people, part of the report read.

Domestic food price inflation, the World Bank highlighted, remained significantly high worldwide.

The mostaffected countries are in Africa, North America, Latin America, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia.

On a yearonyear basis, maize and wheat prices are 17 per cent and 38 per cent lower, respectively, while rice prices are 15 per cent higher.


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