World Bank Lists Nigeria Among Countries With Acute Food Insecurity
… Experts call For Stringent Measures To Avert Crisis
Nigeria may be set for one of its worse food crisis as the World Bank has listed the continent’s biggest economy among countries with acute food insecurity.
The Washington-based bank also projected that poverty and food insecurity will weigh on the country’s economic recovery.
World Bank said, “Increased insecurity has worsened fragility and is expected to reduce access to food for many more people across the region.
“The resulting increases in the number of poor, especially in countries where many people were already experiencing acute food insecurity because of violence and conflict (Nigeria, South Sudan) are expected to weigh on economic recoveries.”
In an effort to feed over 200 million people in a rapidly growing economy, the Nigerian government has invested N1.067trn in the last seven years in its agricultural programmes- the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
Also, under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) which is overseen by the Central Bank of Nigeria, N745.3bn has been disbursed for agro-production and agro-processing.
But the country’s position in the hunger index has been on the surge as it is ranked 103 among 121 countries by the Global Hunger Index in 2022.
Experts had last year projected a food crisis in 2023 following the country’s worst flood in recent history which swept 33 out of 36 states- majorly agricultural hubs.
The country’s inflation currently at 21.47 per cent is on the surge and driven by the food component which is at all-time high of 24.13 per cent in November.
Food shortages in Africa’s biggest economy have been caused by insecurity which has sacked farmers from their farms.
The Nigerian Agric sector grew by 20.07 per cent in nominal terms in Q3 2022, reflecting an increase of 12.13 per cent from the same quarter of 2021, but it has not been reflected in the food supply, experts have argued.
An economist and Senior Lecturer at Evangel University, Ebonyi State Dr. Anagha Oduneka told THE WHISTLER that the World Bank projection is not far from reality.
“The World Bank may have taken months analyzing before taking the stand. With what is going on now, the case may be worse. Food inflation is on the high side due to insecurity. People spend high on logistics when buying agric products from the North.
“The condition will even become worse if adequate measures are not taken. The government needs to look holistically on the issue especially the rising cost of food.
“The flood that swept through states last year is a major factor. It was worse than 2012 flooding. Major food producers Jigawa, Adamawa others were affected. The price of rice will be on high.
“When farmers can’t go to their farms, the agric sector will be badly hit and it will affect the GDP. Peoples purchasing power will be eroded also.”
Peter Njiforte, a professor of economics at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State state,”Nigeria is actually food insecure considering the level of insecurity in form of banditry and kidnapping. Most of the farming communities are now IDP camps.
“Inflation is already on the high side and it has eroded people’s income. Also, the supply chain disruption due to the global pandemic in 2020 and the Russia-Ukraine is having an effect on the Nigerian economy.
Njforte suggested that the way forward is for the government to fix the security problems.
“When people can go back to their communities and engage in their farms that will reduce the pressure on the government. Government should put up more stimulus package.”