The World Bank said inflation induced by the COVID-19 pandemic pushed around 23 million Nigerians into a food crisis in 2021.
The Washington-based bank said this in its latest commodity market outlook report in reference to the Global Food Crises Report.
According to the lender, rising food prices have worsened food insecurity in emerging markets and developing economies, particularly due to reliance on food imports from Ukraine and Russia.
He further said that before the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic had triggered food insecurity around the world.
The World Bank report said: “Rising food prices have increased food insecurity in most EMDEs. It could increase further, given the dependence of a number of EMDEs on food imports from Ukraine and Russia. Even before the war in Ukraine, the pandemic had already taken its toll on food insecurity.
“According to the Global Report on Food Crises, an estimated 161 million people faced food crisis or worse in 2021, compared to 147 million in 2020. Populations facing crisis, who are typically in countries in conflict , include the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (26 million), Afghanistan (23 million), Nigeria (23 million), Ethiopia (16 million) and Yemen (16 million).
He added that war-induced disruptions in food trade, rising food prices and higher costs of administering food aid efforts would likely make more people food insecure. .
In another report, the International Monetary Fund said the impact of the war in Ukraine is likely to keep pressure on commodity prices, severely affecting oil and gas prices in 2022 and food prices until in 2023 in Nigeria and other countries around the world.
African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina also said fertilizer costs, rising energy prices and rising food basket prices could worsen in Nigeria and other parts of the world. other African countries in the coming months.
Apart from the pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine, the World Bank had in another report said import restrictions and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s inflexible exchange rate management were the main drivers of inflation. food in Nigeria.
The report said, “Rising food prices are the underlying factor behind soaring headline inflation in Nigeria. Food prices have increased due to import restrictions and inflexible exchange rate management.
“The current regime keeps the official naira exchange rate artificially strong as the naira has weakened significantly in the parallel market. In addition, the central bank restricted importers’ access to foreign currency for 45 products and reduced supply to other importers.
Recent figures from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that Nigeria’s consumer price index hit 15.92% in March.
This new rate was the highest the country has recorded since November 2021, when the inflation rate fell to 15.99%.
The rise in the inflation rate in March shows that Nigeria is not left behind in the current global inflation spurt.
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