Russia/Ukraine war: Bread scarcity looms as wheat price rises by 68.5%

Scarcity of bread and significant rise in its price and other wheat flour-based foods, as well as confectioneries, appear imminent following the surge in the price of wheat to a multi-year high since Russia began a special military operation in Ukraine.

Checks revealed that the price of wheat has increased by as much as 68.5 percent in the last 12 days from $752 per bushel on February 22 to $1,267 as of March 4, 2022.

The rally in the price of wheat is coming on the heels of investors’ worry about a potential supply disruption as a result of the ongoing war.

Due to Nigeria’s dependence on Russian durum wheat, the nation is at risk of suffering significant food shortages and uptick food inflationary pressure due to Russia/Ukraine conflict.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), durum wheat is the third most widely consumed grain in the country and is also one of Nigeria’s top imports, with the majority of it imported from Russia.

Nigeria is a huge consumer of wheat products, with its local production only accounting for just one percent of the five to six million metric tonnes consumed annually, while the nation relies on importation to meet local demands.

Due to the high possibility of distortion in Russian exports, it will in turn cause food shortages and ultimately contribute to the food inflationary pressure currently being witnessed in Nigeria.

The Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (LCCI), Dr. Chinyere Almona, said the war between Ukraine and Russia will likely make the world’s hunger crisis even more difficult to fight.

Noting that the countries are two of the world’s major suppliers of staple grains like wheat, Almona stated that it is still unclear how long disruptions in the food supply chain will last, though it has already triggered higher wheat prices around the globe.

She called on governments at all levels to open up their reserves if there are any to boost supply and stabilise prices, at least in the short-term.

Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Center for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, (CPPE), Dr. Muda Yusuf, raised strong concerns over the current Russia-Ukraine impasse.

According to Yusuf, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has profound and multi-dimensional implications for the Nigerian economy, especially if it gets protracted.

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