Thursday, 22 February 2024 05:05

We can’t buy food in Nigeria due to rising prices - WFP

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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says it is reviewing its local food procurement and will buy food in Nigeria only in stable market conditions.

According to a statement on Wednesday by the international organisation, the decision was made amid rising inflation and high food prices exacerbated by market speculation in Nigeria.

On February 15, 2024, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported food inflation rate in January this year was 35.41 percent on a year-on-year basis.

This is 11.1 percent points higher compared to 24.32 percent rate recorded in January 2023.

According to the bureau, the rise in food inflation was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, oil and fat, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, meat, and fruit.

WFP said it “noted high inflation rates, and food price rises,” during a monitoring mission in Borno, Yobe, and Kano states.

According to the organisation, this presents significant challenges for Nigerians, especially for those who are displaced, unable to cultivate, and reliant on markets for food.

“High rates of inflation and soaring market prices have reduced the purchasing power of many Nigerian families, especially those in the conflict-affected Northeast Nigeria,” WFP said.

‘4.4 MILLION NIGERIANS WILL NEED FOOD ASSISTANCE IN JUNE-AUGUST’

“The November 2023 Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis projected that up to 4.4 million people in the northeast states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe will require food assistance during the June-August 2024 lean season, with over 1 million people facing emergency levels of hunger (IPC/CH phase 4).

“In 2024, WFP is planning to reach 1.1 million vulnerable people with food and nutrition assistance in Nigeria. In the June–August lean season, when hunger is most acute, WFP will increase its support to reach 1.6 million people a month – dependent on available funding.”

David Stevenson, WFP’s country director and representative in Nigeria, said the organisation is aware of traders holding food in their warehouses pretending it is WFP’s.

“This is inaccurate as WFP has its limited stock only available to continue supporting the most vulnerable Nigerians with critical assistance,” he said. 

“We are undertaking a comprehensive review of our local food procurement. WFP will purchase food in Nigeria only when the market conditions are stable for all.”

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu, on February 15, 2024, said he would not establish a price control board or approve the importation of food as measures to address the economic hardship in the country.

Tinubu made this known after Vice-President Kashim Shettima, on February 13, said the federal government plans to set up a commodity board to regulate the soaring prices of food in the country.

 

The Cable

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