Russian-Ukraine War: Nigerians to Pay More to Buy Food Items

March 16, 2022
food items

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigerians will have to brace up to pay more for basic food items in the coming months as the United Nations warned that global food prices could increase by more than 20 per cent because of the war in Ukraine.

With food and feed prices already at a high, the UN’s food agency – Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said they could increase by a further 8-22 per cent.

Ukraine and Russia are responsible for around 30 per cent of global wheat production and are also important sources of barley and maize.

In its latest food price index released last week, the FAO food price index which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities averaged 140.7 points in February, 3.9 per cent higher than 135.7 points recorded in January, and was up 20.7 per cent year-on-year.

Details highlighted in the report, however, partly incorporated market effects stemming from the Russia-Ukraine crisis as the international food agency explained that sustained global import demand and reduced exports led to a sharp rise in the vegetable oils price index.

According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Black Sea, which lies between Europe and Asia, plays a major role in the global food system, exporting at least 12 per cent of the food calories traded in the world.

The organisation warned that a prolonged conflict could limit the world’s supply of staple crops like wheat, corn and sunflower oil, resulting in skyrocketing food prices and hunger.

“Forty per cent of wheat and corn exports from Ukraine go to the Middle East and Africa, which are already grappling with hunger issues, and where further food shortages or price increases could stoke social unrest,” it stated.

Meanwhile, according to the World Food Programme (WFP), poor countries will be hardest hit by rising food prices with the executive director, Mr David Beasley pointing to a perfect storm of conflict, climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

On its part, the African Development Bank (AfDB) announced a $1 billion plan to boost wheat production in Africa to avert potential food shortages arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to Mr Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president, the lender is raising the funds to help 40 million African farmers utilize climate-resilient technologies and increase their output of heat-tolerant wheat varieties and other crops.

“We are going to be really ramping up our efforts to mobilize that money…If there was ever a time that we needed to really drastically raise food production in Africa, for Africa’s food security and to mitigate the impact of this food crisis arising from this war, it is now,” he said.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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