Borno, Yobe risk acute food shortage, World Bank alerts
Five African countries among top 10 with worst food inflation
The World Bank has identified Borno and Yobe states as areas where food insecurity could deteriorate to a crisis condition in the next three months, as the dry season continues.
The two North East states, according to the World Bank, could join western and southern Katsina, northern and southern Sokoto, northern and central Zamfara, north-western, north-eastern/southeastern Kaduna among other areas in the North reportedly in “food crisis conditions.”
Other places included in the potential food crisis alert are Sanmatenga province in Burkina Faso, the Barh El Gazel Kanem as well as Lac regions in Chad.
“In Nigeria, the regions of west and south Katsina, north and south Sokoto, north and central Zamfara; north-western, north-eastern, and south-eastern Kaduna, northeastern and southern Yobe, and western and eastern Borno will also continue to experience food crisis,” the bank projects. The warning is contained in the bank’s latest Food Security Update released yesterday.
In specific terms, the institution said the affected regions could move from a stress level of food insecurity (IPC Phase Three) to IPC Phase Four, a term that describes an emergency stage of food insecurity from this month till May when food shortage peaks.
“Food insecurity is projected to worsen again in many areas, as the dry season progresses in the months ahead, particularly in regions hit hardest by conflict and insecurity,” the report points out.
According to the report, food inflation remains a major concern despite the recent easing. Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Egypt top countries with the highest real food inflation rate. The real food inflation rate is defined as food minus composite (overall) inflation rate.
Apart from the three top countries on the list are Cape Verde and Uganda. Zimbabwe also maintains its lead as the country with the highest nominal inflation rate at 264 per cent.
The report notes: “Since the last update on February 23, 2023, the agriculture and cereal price indices closed two per cent and five per cent lower, respectively, while the export price index closed at the same level.
“The March 2023 edition of the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) Market Monitor underscores the uncertainty hanging over agricultural markets as the war in Ukraine continues. Reduced Ukrainian production suggests that other countries will need to plant additional grains and oilseeds to help rebuild global stocks and ease prices.”
A recent World Bank blog cautioned that global food prices, despite falling from historic peaks, remained high and that new export restrictions could send prices soaring again.
The report highlights some flickers of hope, which could make some difference in a world desperate to avert global famine. The improvements, however, are a far cry from the huge hole that must be plugged to prevent food crisis.
“Uncertainty surrounding the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative will also keep markets in turmoil. Wheat production increased slightly in 2022 and is set to increase by 2.1 per cent in 2023, largely because of increased output in Canada and Russia. Although 2022 maize production was revised upward in March, it remains 4.5 per cent below 2021 given production declines in the European Union (EU), Ukraine and the United States (U.S.).
Rice production in 2022 increased, thanks to increases in several countries, including India, despite reductions in Pakistan and Tanzania. Soybean production in 2022/23 fell from last month (although it was up 7.1 per cent from the previous year) based on lower projected yields associated with lingering dry conditions in Argentina and Paraguay outweighing an upward revision for India. In the northern hemisphere, winter wheat faces mixed conditions in parts of India, Russia, Ukraine and U.S. In the southern hemisphere, the harvest of the early-planted maize crop is beginning in Argentina, and the harvest of the spring-planted crop and sowing of the summer-planted crop is beginning in Brazil,” the report states.