REALITY OF FOOD CRISIS IN NIGERIA.

Aug 17, 2020

I bought 300 Naira worth of food today and I nearly shrinked in anger, No fear of God in the vendor as she sprinkled beans on my rice. I look up at her and she understood my gaze. But the thing is, I don’t blame her; we’ve had to stop our trips to Mile 12 markets since we know that our monthly contribution for foodstuffs will be expended before we fill a polythene bag with stuffs.

I know many Nigerians now go through similar ordeal when they try to buy food, it only means one thing, we have taken a giant step backward since the Covid-19 was declared pandemic. Effects of food insecurity has gotten worse in Nigeria. FAO already predicted that about 7 million Nigerians will experience food shortagebetween June and August, in 16 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as a result of food and nutrition crisis.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, UN warned that number of people facing food security is bound to double by the time Covid-19 is battled and defeated, this makes me ask; is there anything food producers and the ministry of Agric doing differently to solve this looming problem?

Maybe the effect of the pandemic is not yet glaring to players in the agricultural sector as  Indorama Fertilizer & Petrochemical Ltd, who is the world’s largest single-train Urea (a highly demanded brand of fertilizer) announced to its clients that it had shut down temporarily owing to certain challenges as a result of Covid-19. This poses added turmoil to the already disturbed agro-input sector in Nigeria.

Drop in quantity of inputs supplied to farmers will likely result to drop in quantity of food in the market which will lead to increase in the near future, if that’s not in play already.

                                       

According to (Nairametrics)

Those who have these inputs will want to sell at the best prices they can obtain and they will hoard inputs to attain this. With these, farming will also be reduced and food supply itself will reduce. The implication of this reduced supply is that people will have money and not be able to find the food they need.

Food inflation

Running the numbers now,  the composite food index increased by 15.03% in April 2020 0.03 points higher, compared to 14.98% recorded in March 2020.

On a month-on-month basis, the closely watched component of the inflation index increased by 1.18% in April 2020, up by 0.24% points compared to 0.94% recorded in March 2020. According to the report, the rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, oils and fats, meat, fruits, bread and cereals, and vegetables. Sokoto state also recorded the highest year-on-year food inflation rate, followed by Abuja with 17.65% and Akwa Ibom, which recorded 17.55%. On the other hand, Enugu state recorded the slowest rise in food inflation, having recorded a 12.89% increase, followed by Edo state with 12.9% and Ebonyi state with 13.04%.

Across the Nation

The latest inflation report implies a fast rise in the prices of overall goods and services in the economy, caused by the lockdown procedure in response to Covid-19 pandemic and the continual global oil crisis. It should be noted that the latest increase in the inflation rate means that the purchasing power of consumers to buy goods and services deteriorated. That is, the ability of consumers to buy the same quantity of goods with a fixed income level has worsened within the period, despite investment yields being low and economic activity practically kept on hold.

According to TheNation

In his analysis, Professor Akpan Ekpo, a Professor of Economics and Public Policy, agreed with the NBS. He stated that food inflation is an important component of the inflation matrix.

 

According to him, “Households and their families should not spend more than 20 percent of their income on food. The solution is to empower farmers to produce more using recent and available technology; for now food production depends on nature, that is, rainfall and increased acreage. It would be suicidal to import basic foods in an economy with so much arable land. The key is production, production and production.”

The security challenges faced by many farming communities across the country, adding that transportation cost, the climate change effect, productivity issues in agriculture and the paucity of commercial agriculture in the country and cost of farm inputs attributed to food inflation.

“Although essential items such as food items were exempted from the restrictions, traders in food items complain of harassment and extortion by security agencies.  All of these may further compound the food security outlook in subsequent months. In Nigeria, the region’s most populous country, the number of undernourished people was estimated at more than 25 million in 2018—up by 180 percent over the past decade.” So why don’t we call it the way it is; activities in the agricultural sector is not yielding the desired results.

In Conclusion

The positive vibe in the agricultural sector by both the public and the private sector is cute to see, but question still remains if we are pulling the much needed weight to decentralize our economy from dependence on oil and combat food insecurity in a comprehensive manner. For now, this is a call to awake the giant in myself, you and whoever will read this; we have not significantly planted the seed for food sufficiency in our country, to be able to do that; we will have to fix power, insecurity, policies, and promote healthy collaborations. FarmFunded is dedicated to this cause and we are open to partnerships to achieve more.


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