Nigerians hurting, as food inflation exceeds global record – UN 

A United Nations (UN) report has revealed that global food prices have declined a second consecutive time in July 2021.

In the report, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) price index, which tracks changes in international prices of the most globally traded food commodities, recorded 123 points for July 2021, shedding 1.2 percent of June’s numbers.

This global drop, it is reported, mainly came from activities that revolve around the production and supply of essential household food items like cereals, vegetable oils and dairy products.

Reduction in the price of rice resulted from low demand arising from currency movements and increased freight costs. Shy demand has also forced downward pressure on the price of barley and sorghum globally.

FAO’s dairy index also records a 2.8 percent drop in July relative to the previous month’s record, while vegetables index also records a 1.4 percent decrease to reach a five-month low. 

Sluggish market activities occasioned by the ongoing holidays in the Northern Hemisphere is seen to have prompted the price fall of dairy products, while lower prices of soya beans resulting from the lower biodiesel blending mandate in Argentina caused the price fall in the vegetable market.

Expectations of future supplies of edible oils for the 2021/2022 season have caused a fall in the price of sunflower oil globally, but dry weather conditions in North America have forced an upward pressure on wheat prices by 1.8 percent in July 2021.

However, food prices in Nigeria suggest a marked departure from global experiences as high inflation bites hard on the livelihood of many Nigerians.

With about 210 million people, Nigeria competes with India for the largest number of poor people globally. One of the leading causes of Nigeria’s extreme poverty is the unfavourable rise in food prices.

According to Africanews.com, food prices continue to soar, and Nigerian families struggle to survive. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, food prices have rallied around 22%, and many Nigerians are not coping well with the situation.

Several Nigerians suffer from extreme malnutrition, and 1 in 3 Nigerian children suffer stunted growth due to poor diet. 1 in 10 dies from hunger.

Reports from Africanews.com further establish that about 17 million children are malnourished, making Nigeria’s case rank highest in Africa and second highest globally among countries with the most malnourished citizens.

Before the pandemic, Nigerians were spending 60 percent of their income on food. Still, that statistic has been upwardly revised due to rising food prices, SBM Intelligence Risk Consultancy reports.

People now scramble for cheaper alternatives since their original choices have become a luxury that they can no longer afford. For instance, within a year, the price per kilo of beans has gone up 60%, while rice records a 15% rise in price relative to the previous year.

With a rise in the price of food items, people are now less able to spend on other vitals of life such as rent, healthcare and education. 

Many affected individuals now substitute food choices or recalibrate their quantity options accordingly. Also, people now prefer to patronise traditional healing alternatives instead of hospital treatment due to the rising cost of medical services.

With the scarcity of food in circulation, prices of available foodstuff rise accordingly. In this situation, government intervention must be heavily registered if the veracity of the nation’s economy must be preserved.

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