The World Bank’s recent Food Security report — forecast a troubling future for seven states in the North-west and North-east regions. By 2024, these states, including Borno, Adamawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Yobe, Sokoto, and Zamfara, are expected to face a severe food security crisis due to heightened insecurity and armed conflicts. These ongoing threats have largely diminished living standards in the area, leaving an alarming prospect for the near future. The report highlighted that food insecurity will not be limited to Nigeria alone, as it will also affect several other nations in the West African region at a different level, including Burkina Faso, Chad, and Niger.
As per the report, the majority of regions in West and Central Africa will maintain a level of slight food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) until May 2024, while certain areas will fall into the category of Stressed IPC 2. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Nigerian States will face a critical food security situation (IPC Phase 3) mainly due to ongoing insecurity, armed conflict, and worsening livelihood conditions. Certain regions within Borno state, namely Abadam, Bama, Guzamala, Marte, and others, are anticipated to confront a state of emergency food security (IPC Phase 4), primarily due to scarcity in household food supplies, as well as restricted market access and limited humanitarian aid.
Food prices declined by 9 percent in the year 2023.
Also, the World Bank 2024 report on Global Economics Prospects places great importance on the issue of food insecurity in light of numerous obstacles. Last year, there was a decline of 9 percent in food prices, a prominent aspect of the agricultural price index. This decline can be attributed to an abundance of major crops supplies, apart from rice, which experienced a steep decrease of 27 percent. There is an anticipation of a continued drop in food prices within the years 2024 and 2025. However, it is important to note that these prices may still be influenced by various potential threats including rising energy costs, unfavourable weather occurrences, trade limitations, and uncertain geopolitical situations.
While food prices have decreased, the report stated that the issue of food insecurity remains ongoing. The number of individuals experiencing severe food insecurity worldwide has soared from 624 million in 2017 to 900 million in 2022. This problem is further compounded by the recent surge in rice prices, which is a staple food for over half of the global population and accounts for more than 20 percent of total calorie intake worldwide. Considering the alarming rise in consumer food prices, the report emphasizes the urgency of implementing global policies to combat food insecurity.
44.4% of high-income countries witnessed a modest decline of 1.9%.
There has been a notable rise in trade policies adopted by nations across the globe following Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. These policies, aimed at bolstering their domestic supply and lowering prices, have contributed to the global food crisis, exacerbating the situation. To shed light on the magnitude of this issue, as of January 30, 2024, a total of 15 countries have enforced 21 bans on food exports, while 11 countries have implemented 14 measures limiting exports.
Moreover, the prevalence of elevated domestic food prices persists. More than 5% inflation is observed in 63.2% of low-income nations, marking a 1.3 percentage point increase compared to the previous update on January 17, 2023. Likewise, no change is witnessed in 73.9% of lower-middle-income countries and 48% of upper-middle-income countries. However, a modest decline of 1.9 percentage points is evident in 44.4% of high-income countries. Out of the 165 nations with accessible data, food price inflation surpassed general inflation in 71% of them, when measured in actual terms.
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Since the last update of January 18, 2023, there has been an upswing in agricultural, export, and cereals price indices with a surge of 3%, 7%, and 1% respectively. The export price index saw a substantial boost due to the rising prices of cocoa and Arabica coffee, which recorded an increase of 8% individually. Within the cereals category, maize and wheat prices saw a rise of 1% and 4% respectively. However, rice prices remained unchanged from the levels observed two weeks ago.