From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Against the backdrop of reports that Nigeria spent over N2 trillion last year to import food items due to insecurity, the federal government has embarked on activities to determine the trend in food supply and demand in the country.
The move is also expected to expose any food deficits that may necessitate imports.
In his speech to kickstart a workshop on the food balance sheet in Abuja, the Statistician General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Prince Semiu Adeyemi Adeniran, noted that one of the causes of high food cost is because of Russian/Ukrainian war as well as the volatility of exchange rate.
He also attributed high food prices to exchange rate volatility and the high cost of logistics.
“The prices of food were spurred by the Russian/Ukrainian war as well as the volatility of our exchange rate. That impacted the prices of food. Also, within the country, we have food that we produce but it is difficult to move them to where it is needed. That also spurred an increase in prices. Government is also working on that. You can see that we are getting some succour from the Russian/Ukrainian war. Ukraine is being allowed now to be able to move some of their products to other parts of the country which I feel will have an impact as well” he explained.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of COINMAC International (a multi-disciplinary trainer, security solution provider and IT solution provider), Ayo Salami, said that in the 2021 Global Hunger Index (GHI), Nigeria ranks 103rd out of 116 countries and with a score of 28.3, Nigeria has a level of hunger that’s serious.
“In the 2021 Global Hunger Index (GHI), Nigeria ranks 103rd out of the 116 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2021 GHI scores. With a score of 28.3, Nigeria has a level of hunger that is serious. This narrative is obvious and needs to be changed with all hands on deck to bring about actions that will take Nigerians out of hunger.
“The GHI is designed to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger, provide a way to compare levels of hunger between countries and regions and call attention to those areas of the world where hunger levels are highest and where the need for additional efforts to eliminate hunger is greatest.
“To take Nigerians out of hunger, application of Financial Brokerage Services (FBS), is germane. FBS is essential for sustainable food security. The food balance sheet provides a sound basis for the policy analysis and decision-making needed to ensure food security. It is, therefore, suggestable that the Federal Government should establish, through an Act of Parliament, a National Standing Committee or National Food Balance Sheet Forum. This should include a select group from among the many relevant stakeholders. This will co-ordinate annual NFBS construction, commission research and convene regular stakeholder meetings” he recommended.
Recall that despite the government’s efforts to boost local production capacity, Nigeria still spent N2 trillion importing food in 2021.
The value of food products imported last year surged by 41 per cent when compared to the N1.2 trillion spent in 2020. The imported food products accounted for 9.44 per cent of the country’s total imports for the year.
In 2019, the country imported N959 billion worth of food, accounting for 5.66 per cent of total imports. It imported N857.6 billion and N886.8 billion worth of food products in 2018 and 2017, respectively.
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