By Chinedu Adonu

Nutrition Society of Nigeria, NSN, has bemoaned the negative impacts of lingering insecurity as well as COVID-19 pandemic on food security in the country

The society attributed the soaring prices of foods in Nigeria to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and as well as the lingering insecurity, stressing that food prices will remain elevated until the security crisis is solved.

National rresident of NSN, Prof. Wasiu Afolabi made this known during a press conference as part of their annual scientific conference in Enugu within the week, stated that the high rise in food prices have striking consequences on hunger and malnutrition.

He lamented that the Increase in food prices have been a consistent major cause of fear and concerns among Nigerians especially the poor and vulnerable groups in the communities.

According to NSN boss, there is need to ensure food price stability before Nigeria blossoms into acute hunger and malnutrition which is capable of killing like diseases.

He said: “Soaring food prices have striking consequences on hunger and malnutrition. Nigeria being Africa’s most populous nation with over 210 million population competes with India for the largest number of poor people in the world. 

“Nigeria has experienced   the double economic impact of low global oil prices and the Covid-19 pandemic food prices have increased more than 22 percent since the start of the coronavirus crisis, according to National Bureau of statistics. The World Bank estimates that Nigeria’s soaring inflation and food prices pushed another seven million people into poverty in 2020. According to World Bank, the Agricultural Commodity Price Index remained near its highest level since 2013, and as of July 16, 2021, was approximately 30% higher than in January 2020. Maize, wheat, and rice prices were about 43%, 12% and 10% above their January 2020 levels.

“The rising inflation has adversely affected the profitability of producers and is a major contributor to the low export penetration of made-in-Nigeria goods in the international market. “There is an urgent need to ensure price stability before the situation becomes deplorable”

“The ever-increasing food prices can be attributed partially to the insecurity situation in the country and the emergence of Covid-19 pandemic. Widespread bandit attacks, ethnic clashes have kept people from working in the farms and trading in the open markets in some parts of the country. In these parts of the country, the number of severely malnourished children is climaxing, food availability at markets is declining, especially for fresh perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables and animal sourced foods. 

“The implications of the impacts means that there is reduction in the number of farmers due to their killings, there is impoverishment of farmers due to kidnappings, farmers are not willing to go to their farmlands as they will be chased out, cattle rearing has become difficult, there is reduction in the quantity of crops stored in grain silos. These clearly indicate the negative impacts of banditry on food security. Food prices will remain elevated until the security crisis is solved.

“Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly and extensively around the world since late 2019 and this has had overwhelming implications for food security and nutrition. The unfolding crisis has affected food systems and threatened people’s access to food via multiple dynamics. We have witnessed not only a major disruption to food supply chains in the wake of lockdowns triggered by the global health crisis, but also a major global economic slowdown.”NSN bemoan negative impacts of insecurity, Covid-19 on food security.

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