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Drop in food prices not feasible now – Analysts

…blame insecurity, climate change

By Yemi Olakitan

Nigerians wishing and hoping for a significant drop in the prices of food in the soonest future have been advised to perish the thought.

The cross section of analysts who made the submission has, however, laid the blame for the infeasibility of a crash in food prices in the country on the feet of insecurity and climate change.

According to the analysts the rising insecurity and shifting weather patterns will keep food prices high, thus Nigerians expecting for relief from the country’s cost of living crisis may not find it this year.

The Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported in its latest consumer price index that inflation rose to 21.47% in November, up from 21.09% in October.

The bureau ascribed the increase to a combination of factors, including a sudden spike in demand before the Christmas shopping season, higher import costs as a result of the depreciation of the naira, and an increase in production expenses.

Because of the significant reduction in food production, the country’s insecurity issues have resulted in an acute rise in food prices.

Prices of basic food items such as rice, beans, yams, vegetables, and poultry products, among others, have steadily increased since July 2020, with millions of Nigerians struggling to adjust.

The analysts who spoke with our correspondent submitted that the farming cycle would be altered and disrupted in 2023 by climate change and insecurity.
They added that it won’t be until at least the first half of the year that production of important staples like rice and maize could restore stock that had been depleted as a result of flooding incidents last year.

Abiodun Olorundenro, operations manager at Aquashoots Limited, responded to inquiries by saying, “We need to grow more food to drive down costs and this looks improbable owing to significant challenges such as insecurity and climate change that have been restricting crop production in recent years.”

Due to the gap, he explained that, “this means that food prices will remain high in 2023, possibly up to the third quarter when we have a new president.”

Millions of Nigerians are already suffering from severe levels of hunger and malnutrition as a result of the record-high rise in food prices last year.

Nigeria is one of five countries named as the “hotspot of global hunger” in a 2022 study by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), World Food Programme, and the United Nations, where people are suffering from catastrophic levels of starvation.

Ibrahim Kabiru, national president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, predicted that food prices would stay high but that there would not be a famine in 2023.

“Like last year, climate change will continue to have an impact on production this year. Every year, its effects grow more terrible. The insecurity problems that have been impeding production have not yet been addressed by the administration,” Kabiru said.

To national president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, all of these would keep food prices high this year.

Kabiru added that the industry would develop more slowly this year and urged the government to help farmers grow food all year long.

Over 90 percent of the working population of Nigeria spends 60 percent of their income on food and related expenses, according to economists, and food inflation, which is the main cause of headline inflation, touched 24.13 percent in November 2022.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the increase in inflation caused household consumption expenditures to rise by 12 percent to N27.3 trillion in the first half of 2022, the highest level in five years.

With 63 percent of the population (133 million) experiencing multidimensional poverty as a result of the scenario, many Nigerians are now poorer than they were in 2021.

“Food costs will continue to be high. Nothing is going to happen right now till after the elections, according to Edobong Akpabio, chair of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s agriculture and allied sector group.

“FX shortages won’t improve this year; instead, they’ll get worse before getting better after the elections. We continue to import a significant portion of our food, which raises the price, Akpabio added.”

According to Florunsho Olayemi, the chief executive officer of Sammorf Agro-Consult Limited, the poor crop harvest of last year was brought about by the effects of climate change which had led to a shortage in some of the most important commodities consumed by Nigerians.

Olayemi stated that for the majority of 2023, food prices would remain high due to the shortage and the increase in crucial inputs like fertilisers.

The Financial Derivatives Company Limited experts forecast a decrease in food costs in 2023.

“We anticipate some relief in 2023 as global tension decreases and commodities prices revert to their pre-COVID levels.

“This will relieve domestic price pressure, and inflation is anticipated to start slowing down starting in the second quarter of 2023. Nigeria’s headline inflation is anticipated to be 16.2% on average in 2023,” they noted.

NatureNews also had a chat with Mr Oluwashesan Badmus, veteran broadcast journalist in Lagos on the challenges on the threat of starvation in the face of insecurity and climate change.

Badmus opined that it was not surprising that high costs of food prices had hit the Nigerian populace.

He was convinced that the Federal Government ought to declare a state of emergency on the issues of inflation of food prices, climate change and insecurity.

Speaking further, Badmus said there should be a national tree planting day in which Nigerians would plant trees all over the country to mitigate the effects of climate change.

According to him, the impacts of flooding and insecurity on food sufficiency cannot be overemphasized.

He called on the FG to allow state and local governments to have state policing in order to curb rising insecurity that disturbs farmers on their farms.

‘‘The FG must allow new legislation on state policing at state and community levels. They must find solutions to incessant flooding that have negative impacts on agriculture,” he said.

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