January 31, 2023

AFEX Annual Commodity Outlook: 2022 floods driving high food prices in 2023 over poor harvest

By Victoria Ojeme

Nigeria’s leading commodities market player, AFEX, has attributed the high cost of food prices this year to the devastations caused by the 2022 floods that led to poor harvest across the country.

This was contained in AFEX Annual Commodities Outlook report for 2023 released in a virtual event on Tuesday, forecasting that the impact of flooding, devaluation of the naira, high logistics costs, and the social-political situation in the country will keep commodity prices at historically high levels, amid concerns of an impending food crisis and global recession.

The report attributes this surge in prices to the low production volume of maize, paddy rice, sorghum, and cocoa. These commodities declined by an average of 11.5% in the 2022/23 trading season due to price-induced low fertilizer usage because of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Read Also: Floods leave 2.4m displaced, 662 lives lost

Climate change realities such as flooding also had a significant effect on the market among other unfavourable conditions. The Annual Commodities Outlook by AFEX also alludes to price pressures being exacerbated by the fact that 2023 is an election year, which could cause some market uncertainty.

In his remarks, during the report launch, David Ibidapo, Head, Market Data and Research at AFEX, explained that, “Every year, AFEX reviews Nigeria’s commodity market and gives an in-depth analysis of the outlook for the new year.

“In the last 2 to 3 years, we have seen the commodities market susceptible to global shocks as evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis on supply chain and food prices.

“It’s then critical to monitor the market closely and give an objective picture of these agricultural commodities which would bring transparency and clarity in a bid to ameliorate the impact of the next global shock.”

Speaking on the commodities outlook for the year, Oluwafunto Olasemo, Vice President, Financial Markets at AFEX said, “The shift in global commodities supply has greatly influenced the commodity market and exposed the vulnerabilities in our food system.

“There is a growing imbalance between the food supply and the demand of the growing population, putting upward pressure on prices.

“Developing a holistic approach to mitigate food insecurity and improve the shocks to climatic change, inadequate financing, and low access to efficient markets is a priority.

“With this report, we seek to provide high-quality, timely, accurate, and accessible data for investors while addressing the real pressing issues of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.”

AFEX has long recognized that farmers are part of the social fabric of Africa’s commodities market, hence, robust data is essential to identifying solutions that address food system challenges, build trust, and increase the capacity of supply chain businesses for farmers, processors, investors, and other key stakeholders in the value chain.

Mainstreaming environmental sustainability, and prioritizing policies that encourage public and private sector players to work together to improve farmers’ productivity and transform food systems is thus a key recommendation from the report to pave the way for sustainable solutions.

Despite the economic slowdown, the report reveals that the agricultural sector still shows resilience as it outperformed most sectors, including trade, oil and gas, telecoms, and manufacturing, contributing 27.6% to Nigeria’s GDP in Q3 of 2022. However, food inflation rose for nine consecutive months in the year reaching an all-high 24.13 in November 2022.

For 2023, the report further reveals that inflationary pressures will continue to rise due to decline in the production of major grain commodities thereby reducing the supply level in the domestic market.

Providing the outlook for the global commodities market, the report predicts that Maize prices will decrease by 8% in 2023, while prices for wheat, which were anticipated to rise by 36% in 2022, will slightly fall in 2023. Meanwhile, the average price of rice which decreased by 5% in 2022 is forecast to remain the same this year.

In the international scene, “The fertilizer index which rose by 66% in 2022, is projected to decline by 12% in 2023 as supply disruptions gradually subside.

“Increased input costs, new sanctions on Belarus and Russia, and lengthened export restrictions by China are all positive risks to the forecast. However, the commissioning of some fertilizer plants, which have not yet ramped up to full capacity in 2022, will suppress the positive risks” the report reads.