By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
The Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has warned that Nigeria and many African countries may face food crises due to the war in Ukraine.
She made this warning during an exclusive interview with BBC World Service, which was monitored by Saturday Vanguard in Abuja yesterday.
Okonjo-Iweala also warned that the war would have global dimensions, stressing the need for an end to the war.
She stated that Russia is the biggest exporter of fertilisers, wheat and maize to many African countries; stressing that the prices of the two grains have gone up by 62 and 36 per cent respectively since the beginning of the war.
The WTO chief also disclosed that the price of soya beans by has inflated by 29 per cent while noting that the cost of purchasing fertilisers globally have gone up by 300 per cent as a result of the ongoing war between the two European nations.
According to her, a recent report by the Africa Development Bank indicate that the war in Ukraine posed a severe challenge to Africa, because of its heavy reliance on cereals imports from both Ukraine and Russia.
“What is being done by the Africa Development Bank shows that in many African countries (including Nigeria) food prices have risen by 20 percent. This is huge.“So, my worry is that we have a food crisis that is brewing, and could become worse, if nothing is done about it,” she said.
Meanwhile, the war between Ukraine and Russia have raised concerns about the vulnerability of global supply chains and led to calls in some quarters to re-locate production and sourcing locally in order to ensure stable supplies of critical goods and staples.
In other to address these concerns on the near-term, experts are advocating for greater international cooperation on trade to minimise the impact of supply crunches for key commodities where prices are already high by historical standards and to keep markets functioning smoothly.